As members of the 11-piece Iron & Wine strolled on stage shortly after 9:30, the crowd began to erupt. Sam Beam was last on stage, and of course got the most massive applause of all. Despite having 10 musicians joining him on stage, Iron & Wine is still all about Sam Beam, and the focus always remains on him. The show, however, was truly a collaborative effort; everyone on stage (even the backup singers) got their chances to shine. It felt more like a jam band concert than a folk show at some points.
Despite the horn section, the backup singers, and all those electric instruments, Mr. Beam is most certainly still a folk writer. The backbone of his new songs are similar to how he’s always written, now he’s just throwing more elements into the mix. On stage, it’s not just the new songs getting the big-band treatment; Beam and his band have worked out new arrangements on plenty of older songs. Look no further than “House by the Sea” (video below), a song that has changed dramatically due to the new band. Some may not like the new style (although most of the crowd seemed to love it), but I thought it made for an incredible show that had a whole new energy and feel than past I&W shows.
Beam only played five songs (and one b-side) from the new album, creating a set list that spanned all of his albums and even included some EP songs. The song choices weren’t very different from the past week of shows, but I thought the choices and placements were well thought-out. The mid-set “Naked As We Came” was both surprising and crowd-pleasing, grouping “Big Burned Hand” and “Half Moon” together worked very well, and the segue between “House by the Sea” and “Woman King” was one of the show’s highlights. The best decision Sam made though was to oblige the crowd’s pleas for “The Trapeze Swinger” when he came out for a solo encore. Looking at the available setlists, Sam had yet to bust this one out on this tour, so I was especially surprised and ecstatic to hear it. There’s just no better way for him to close out a show.
If you’re heading out to see Iron & Wine within the next week, do yourself a huge favor and get there early to catch The Low Anthem. They played a great opening set that showcased their new album as well as a few great older songs. I really enjoyed “Ghost Woman Blues” and the set-closing cover of Cohen’s “Bird On a Wire.” Unfortunately, I got there a little bit late, but below you can check out the part of the setlist that I caught, as well as a video of the band playing “Ghost Woman Blues.”
For some great pictures from the show, visit The Key. For the setlist and some videos, continue reading.
The Low Anthem @ Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA – Thursday, April 21, 2011
***Note: I came in during “Matter of Time” and am not sure what or how many songs were played beforehand.
Matter of Time
Ghost Woman Blues
This God Damn House
Home I’ll Never Be
Bird On A Wire (Leonard Cohen cover)
Iron and Wine @ Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA – Thursday, April 21, 2011
01 Me and Lazarus (video)
02 God Made the Automobile (video)
03 Freedom Hangs Like Heaven (video)
04 Summer in Savannah
05 Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) (video)
06 Boy With A Coin (video)
07 Naked As We Came (video)
08 The Sea and the Rhythm
09 Big Burned Hand (video)
10 Half Moon (video)
11 Free Until They Cut Me Down
12 Cinder & Smoke (video)
13 Lion’s Mane (video)
14 Rabbit Will Run
15 House by the Sea > (video)
16 Woman King > (video)
17 Fever Dream (video)
18 Tree By the River (video) (video)
19 The Trapeze Swinger (Sam Beam solo) (video) (another video)