Wednesday, June 30th, 2004
Cinder And Smoke
I don’t think Sam Beam was expecting the reception he got for Iron & Wine’s Toronto debut. Lord knows I wasn’t. The Horseshoe was packed to the gills with people, moreso than I can recall in recent memory. We’re talking loads of people. And they seemed to be more than just folks curious about a hyped new band (which Iron & Wine aren’t, really) – many of these punters were enthusiastic fans, if the screaming and heavy applause was any indication. Most times the applause was exponentially louder than the band itself. I think Beam was simulatenously flattered and flustered, grinning and occasionally laughing mid-song when one of the fans whooped it up. It was a curious contrast – the whispery, solemn and oh-so-pretty Southern gothic folk songs of the band versus the stadium rock idol-worthy applause (Beam commented on this, musing that this is how Van Halen must feel and asking if anyone brought a beach ball). It didn’t throw the band off their game though, as they played a solid hour of material to an almost-silent club (aforementioned whooping aside) – which was good because the music was so quiet it would have been easy to lose. While Iron & Wine as an entity is pretty much just Sam Beam, he’s done a fine job of putting together a band that’s not only as hirsute as he, but capable of tastefully embellishing his material, adding just the right touch of slide guitar, percussion, bass and drums precisely where needed. Very nice.
Openers for the evening was Iron & Wine guitarist Patrick McKinney performing under the name Langtry. He did a nice set of acoustic guitar instrumentals that managed to evoke a nice narrative feel, helped along by the fact that he preceded a few of the songs by explaining the story they were meant to tell. A very nice display of acoustic guitar acumen and an excellent warm-up for the headliners.
Not too many photos from last night. The ones I got turned out pretty well – there’s a few where I managed to ride someone else’s flash to cool effect – but I didn’t shoot too many since the band isn’t the most dynamic outfit on the planet. Within a few songs I figured they were doing pretty much all that they were going to be doing and that I had gotten every type of shot I was going to get. Which is fine, cause it let me just enjoy the music.
Another Lollapalooza survivor coming to town – Modest Mouse are at the Kool Haus August 4, tickets $18.50 advance, on sale July 8 at the usual outlets. Montreal’s Wolf Parade support. That same night, Philly’s Marah will be throwing it down at the Horseshoe. Any Modest Mouse/Marah fans in town torn by this dilemma? No? Didn’t think so.
That’s it for today. Busy day at work, gotta get to it.
np – Television / Adventure