Iron and Wine – Debaser Medis, February 2nd 2011

Iron and Wine – Debaser Medis, February 2nd 2011

Opening Wednesday night for Iron and Wine was the one-man Tarantula Waltz, featuring Sweden’s own Markus Svensson. With a ragged, road weary voice, dude took us through a tight pack of songs that called to mind dusty truck stops and Dylan and things better lost in the rearview mirror. While this genre has been mined quite successfully lately by other Swedish acts like  Tallest Man on Earth, it’s good to see more yowling troubadours out there. It was an impressive set and I’d recommend getting the album–released this month in the in the pretentious, vinyl only format.

Next up: the headliner. Sam Beam, the man behind both the beard and the very skilful songwriting of Iron and Wine stepped out onstage, said a quick hello and launched into a stripped down solo set of two or three I&W greats, starting with the ever-excellent Free Until They Cut Me Down. By the time the rest of the band ambled out into the lights the stage was set for something more. Making use of a somewhat wider musical ensemble than we’ve seen in the past, Mr. Beam took us into fresh territory. Beginning with his latest album’s standout track Big Burned Hand, which devolved at one point into surprising tangle of sax and fiddle and jazz inspired bass, the steady build carried on with Peace Beneath the City and a slowed down, mandolin driven reworking of Teeth in the Grass.

While the stage banter wasn’t really happening, the band kept the new material afloat with offhand favorites like Woman King and He Lay in the Reigns, and the show rumbled on. By the encore we were ready for just one more, and it came in the form of the lyrical epic Trapeze Swinger from 2009’s Around the Well compilation album. Delivered with slow and spine-tingling earnestness, it was somehow just the right punctuation for the evening. Overall a brilliant, if somewhat subdued performance from an indie great.

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Paul FSM 4 posts

Paul Gladden has followed musical happenings in pretty much everywhere he’s lived, from the deserts of the American Southwest to San Francisco and northern Guatemala. For the past five years he’s lived in Stockholm soaking up the cities diverse and sometimes incredible music scene and enjoying the possibility of discovering unique new sounds and talent.

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