Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Iron and Wine with Edie Brickell
Reposted from Now This Sound Is Brave.
This week, Jennifer visits with a couple of old friends, watches Sam Beam rock out (and get Dylan’d for his trouble) and has some choice words for the monkeys at the circus.
Occasionally my adventures in modern music appreciation feel a bit like being at a big party with a lot of pleasant strangers, where I’m half wandering between intriguing conversations and half hiding behind a potted palm with a cocktail thinking Who are these people and what is going on here? And then the crowd parts and a familiar but rarely-seen face appears, and I feel a surge of relief and affection and want to stop and chat and see what they’ve been up to all this time.
One of these moments occurred last Saturday night, when Edie Brickell & friends (including Charlie Sexton!) took the stage at Radio City Music Hall:
In case you are now squinting your screen thinking Edie who?: she had a big hit with What I Am in 1988, and then in 1992 married Paul Simon (MTV nation emitted a collective WHAT? at the time) and essentially fell out of pop-cultural memory. She did not, however, stop making music, and now it looks like she’s come back with a new band The Gaddabouts . Also I am pleased to tell you that her voice is as clear and sweet and true as ever, and she sounds comfortable – settled in herself – and best of all, like she is having the most possible fun she could be having on stage. If you’d like to hear more, she’ll be on WFUV this coming Friday night, along with Iron & Wine.
Iron & Wine were also next up at Radio City. If you haven’t heard of them before, they normally specialize in somewhat mellow folk. Their average tempo is somewhere between gentle swaying and spinny hippie dancing. I say “normally” because that is what they did for the first half of their set: glided pleasantly through tunes like He Lays in the Reins, from In the Reins the album they made with Calexico, and Naked as We Came from Our Endless Numbered Days.
Then the horn section and the drummer came out –
– Sam Beam plugged his guitar in and SHAZZAMO! Iron & Wine became a rock band and proceeded to stomp through Lion’s Mane like roadhouse veterans and give House By the Sea some jazzy calypso swing. The songs that followed were similarly rearranged and reimagined, and I have never before been as simultaneously baffled and pleased at a show. Though I do have to say it was the kind of reinvention that rewards people who pay attention to lyrics, because there was really no other musical cues to go by to figure out which song they were playing.
While I felt the evening was a success, musically, some of my fellow audience members were less excited. Several people left and one person yelled Judas! at him (Sam Beam: “But Judas was Jesus’ favorite!”) But really the biggest irritant of the night were the people hollering out requests. Ladies. Gentlemen. You are at Radio City Music Hall. The person on the stage 1) can’t hear you and 2) isn’t a jukebox and also 3) please can we all at least pretend to be adults who know how to behave? And really, where-ever you are, unless the artist actually says, “So, what do you all want to hear today?” be quiet and let the artist work whatever magic they feel like working.