06-15-2008, 01:30 AM
never having seen iron & wine live before, i expected to see a guy with a beard and an acoustic guitar play for an hour. instead i saw a guy with a beard and seven other musicians do some crazy low-key noodle-dance jamming. iron & wine (aka sam beam- the guy with the beard) did a "stop making sense" style concert, adding musicians to the stage with each forthcoming song. the sound was crisp and clear; each instrument had its place in the mix, and nothing overwhelmed anything else. at the core were sam and his guitar, and at some points i wish it had been only that. songs previously consisting of bare-bones arrangements were reworked for the full band. though i appreciated the effort, i didn't care for the 7 minute jams tacked onto the tails of many songs. the band was tight, but the improvisations didn't escalate or peak; they just went....on. they encored with "the sea and the rhythm"-- absolutely beautiful; it gave me chills. despite great musicianship all around, i couldn't help but want to hear just the guy with the beard play guitar and sing.