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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Iron & Wine live at the Electric Factory: My Review

    Since none of my friends who usually accompany me to see my favorite bands are fans of Iron & Wine (no idea why), my wife and I ventured to Philly by ourselves last night. We were quite early so we stopped at the Standard Tap on N. 2nd St. for some excellent beer (local IPAs) and a couple burgers with fresh-cut fries, a rare red-meat and fried food treat for us.

    Our bellies full, we headed over to N. 7th where the Electric Factory is located, arriving nearly an hour before the doors were scheduled to open. We were numbers 9 and 10 in line and with a much younger assortment in front of us and, not long after, behind us. We ended up chatting with some of them, discussing the recent shows we've been too, and a few were quite envious to hear that we'd recently seen the Arcade Fire, The National, Wilco, The Decemberists, Spoon, The Shins, Lucinda Williams, and many others. I told them that a bunch of us in a close circle of friends have vowed to see as many shows as we could for as long as we could because we're not getting any younger.

    The doors opened at last and we headed upstairs to the L shaped second floor that overlooks the (mostly) standing room only first floor. We got seats that overlooked the stage on the right, a nearly perfect and unobstructed view. After ordering a couple of over-priced 12 ounce beers, we waiting about an hour for the opening act, Low Anthem, to start their short set. A four-piece band playing some really odd instruments...one guy played a saw on the first song...and very quiet, traditional type fold. They were good but a little too mellow at that point as I could have taken a nap. Only during a couple of the final songs did they make a little noise.

    By time Low Anthem was done, the venue was filled to capacity, which I didn't find unusual at all. It was finally time for Sam Beam and company to take the stage at about 9:30, and what an impressive set-up! Saw was dressed in a grey suit with black shirt, sporting his big, full beard as usual. In the front and to his right was a guitar/mandolin player and to his left a keyboard player. Behind them from his right were two female back-up singers and the bass player, a drummer, a percussionist who eerily resembled Jerry Garcia, and a horn section consisting of sax, trumpet and sax/flute/clarinet (I think). The guy in the middle also played what I believe was a zither on one song.

    All in all there were 10 others on the stage, and they had the songs down cold, appearing almost effortless in execution, despite the complexity of many of them, most notably 'Rabbit Will Run' from The Shepherd's Dog. Every note, every nuance, seemed to be perfectly executed to stay true to what you hear on his records.

    Most of Sam's earlier records feature his vocals in hushed tones accompanying mostly acoustic instrumentation, but Kiss Each Other Clean is quite a transformation with his use of a full band and his vocals becoming much bolder, at least on some of the songs. I wasn't expecting them to 'rock out', but the end of the second song, God Made the Automobile, had the horns wailing, drums crashing, piano banging. It was really awesome.

    They played for about 2 hours and, as expected, there was an encore, but it was only one song and a solo effort by Sam with his Taylor acoustic doing 'The Trapeze Swinger'. It was a perfect ending to a great show, and the crowd was as raucous as any I've seen or heard at the Electric Factory, screaming out their appreciation after each song, but especially after the encore. I wish my friends had made the trip. They wouldn't have been disappointed.

    Here's the set-list from last night:

    Me and Lazarus
    God Made the Automobile
    Freedom Hangs Like Heaven
    Boy With a Coin
    Naked As We Came
    Half Moon
    Rabbit Will Run
    Summer in Savannah
    Cinder and Smoke
    Woman King
    Fever Dream
    Tree by the River
    Encore -The Trapeze Swinger
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  2. #2
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Glad you had a good time Swisheroo. I'm really digging Kiss Each Other Clean. I spun it last night in honour of you going to the show. . Although that seems like a short set list for a two hour show.

    So if I wanted to venture into the back catalogue with one more purchase to see whether the new CD is a fluke or whether I like the band, where would I start?

  3. #3
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Nice report there Swishman! My wife and I and our 2 sons and there girlfriends saw I&W in New Orleans at House of Blues November 2010. The wife and I got the special treatment after the opening act. Front section of the balcony (with chairs and tables) was roped off for VIPs. A very kind "usher"/security-type who observed us standing through the opening act offered to seat us in the VIP section when Beam came on. Of course we accepted. Sometimes it pays to be the oldest in the room.

  4. #4
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Burgers and fries - I'm jealous : )

    We have to wait till June - and- we have to head out to Omaha to make it happen. Luckily that's where my wife's family is. Two birds, you know? You're lucky to have friends that want to see shows with you. My buddies only want to go to Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, and Tom Petty. Absolutely drives me crazy! Luckily my wife is a gamer and on occasion finds she actually enjoys the show. Some of the more outlandish dark wave stuff - not so much!

    Oh, and so you don't think I missed the actual point of the thread, nice review.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  5. #5
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Well, I just figured out it was less than 2 hours...

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Glad you had a good time Swisheroo. I'm really digging Kiss Each Other Clean. I spun it last night in honour of you going to the show. . Although that seems like a short set list for a two hour show.

    So if I wanted to venture into the back catalogue with one more purchase to see whether the new CD is a fluke or whether I like the band, where would I start?
    ...by maybe 20 minutes. Also, most of his songs are lengthy when compared to most rock tunes that go about 3 minutes. With the full band, a couple songs probably approached 10 minutes. You had to be there I guess.

    I really like Our Endless Numbered Days and The Shepherd's Dog, but they're quite different from the latest, so be forewarned.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  6. #6
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Oh, I know quite well that you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Nice report there Swishman! My wife and I and our 2 sons and there girlfriends saw I&W in New Orleans at House of Blues November 2010. The wife and I got the special treatment after the opening act. Front section of the balcony (with chairs and tables) was roped off for VIPs. A very kind "usher"/security-type who observed us standing through the opening act offered to seat us in the VIP section when Beam came on. Of course we accepted. Sometimes it pays to be the oldest in the room.
    After reading your comments about them after that show, I knew I had to see them, so thanks!
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

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