Concert Review: Dirty Projectors

July 4, 2009 § 1 Comment

So last night, front and centre, I witnessed one of the first shows ever where the live format was far and away better than the albums I’ve heard. Sure, I’ve seen bands play where a live version of one song might be more fun than the one on the album, but honestly, I didn’t even like the Dirty Projectors all that much based on the albums I’d heard and yet, I was hypnotized by the real thing. I’m not about to pretend that I am an expert on the band, hardly, as I said, I’m not even a fan of their records. Their newest single “Stillness is the Move” was definitely my favourite track of the evening though, the band’s sheer skill and musical tightness was punchy, the sort of punch that has been spiked.

Dave is a superb guitarist, with an original flair that I didn’t entirely pick up on with the recordings. Live, he plays a righty-Stratocaster, as a lefty and only picks with his fingers–a rarity in the likes of rock music. His chops really shine in the instances where he plays ahead of the beat, which is something few guitarists have mastered, and it’s a sign of a talented lead. For the nerdy folk like myself, Dave was playing the Strat through a Roland JC-120 for his clean tones and a Fender Blues Junior cranked for his overdrives. It sounded awesome. A Rickenbacker 4003 was a mainstay, also Amber sometimes played a gorgeous ’52 Telecaster, through a small Fender Silverface amp, possibly a Princeton model. A Mustang made an appearance on a few songs as well.

The three girls singing, also demonstrated their skills when they had to do such things has synchronizing singing–that’s what I’m calling it. In a sort of strange panning effect, one would make a sound and the other would finish it, at a high tempo. Stunning. On the albums, I sometimes found their voices grating, but not at all last night. Props to the curly haired girl on the album cover for having a Spacemen 3 tee.

The group was returning after a few cancelled shows resulting from a car accident while touring around the States. It was clear that they were in top form, unhindered from the crash.

My only honest complaint is why don’t they sound like this on the records?! Please put out an underproduced live album or something; it’s the only remedy I can think of. Truly an anomaly.

If you have the opportunity, see them live.

Someone kindly posted a pretty high quality video from the show. There are a few more up on YouTube too.


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