Gig Review – Iron & Wine – La Cigale, Paris – 1 June 2013
There was a bit of a surprise entering La Cigale for the Iron & Wine show on Saturday night which was that the venue had put seats out in the hall. Iron & Wine may not be most people’s idea of a rock & roll act but the new record has a real soul/ R&B vibe and the last one came with beats that quite a lot of people didn’t care for.
The opening act Denai Moore from East London was playing her first show outside the UK and won over the Parisian audience with a short set of songs which fitted the folk-soul label she gives herself on Facebook. Iron & Wine – which in this incarnation means Sam Beam and a 12 piece band (3 horns, 3 strings, 3 backing singers , drums, bass and keyboards) which reminded me both in composition of Van Morrison’s early 1970s Caledonia Soul Orchestra.
The set kicked off with the Desert Babbler from new album Ghost On Ghost. Unsurprisingly the songs from the record made up a third of the set interspersed with some old favourites re-arranged for the group and a few surprises.
The first band set finished with Ghost On Ghost closer Baby Center Stage whereupon Mr Beam and the strings played a Monkeys Uptown after which the rest of the group left and the human jukebox took and played requests of House By The Sea and Fever Dream. The strings rejoined for a new arrangement of Such Great Heights which drew a big cheer form the crowd.
The band returned for Grace For Saints And Ramblers. The R&B big band set up comes off in the live environment and never overwhelms the Iron & Wine acoustic guitar and vocal. He said they’d only been together for three weeks but you’d never know it. The performance of Passing Afternoon was a treat. The main set closer was Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me which involved the musicians stretching out and jamming.
The encore, after a rapturous reception from the audience, was The Boy With A Coin, performed solo, which had been called out in the request segment by the two women sat next to me. They were thrilled to have their wishes granted.
I’ve seen Iron And Wine several times, never with the same set up. He’s always interesting and challenging. And a blast.
The Desert Babbler
Low Light Buddy Of Mine
Tree By The River
Kingdom Of The Animals
Sixteen Maybe Less
Belated Promise Ring
Baby Center Stage
House By The Sea
Upward Over The Mountain
Such Great Heights
Grace For Saints And Ramblers
Leaning Into The Light
Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me
E : Boy With A Coin