Browsing articles tagged with " Drum Beats"
May 6, 2014
Rock D Fresh

COTS Walk: ‘Fun and it’s a good cause’

Though the sky threatened rain, more than 1,500 participants turned out for the 25th annual walk for the Committee on Temporary Shelter in Burlington.

In fact, Executive Director Rita Markley said she could have sworn it was the biggest crowd the walk has drawn yet.

“I am just so moved and grateful to have such an extraordinary turnout,” Markley said. “It is better than my wildest hopes. For many people, this is the way parents taught their children about the needs in our community was walking the walk and going to the programs. There had to be about 1,500 to 2,000 people.”

The walk follows the route a person who is homeless might follow in order to receive shelter and services. The walk is meant to raise awareness around homelessness and start a conversation around housing in the area, according to Maggie Schwalbaum, a COTS program coordinator and Case Manager at Canal Street Veterans’ Housing in Winooski.

Luckily for participants, the rain held off until the very end of the walk, but the cloudy weather did not dampen participants’ attitudes as they flocked to Battery Park in Burlington for the beginning of the walk.

This year’s fundraising goal for the walk was $175,000, which would support COTS shelters and services for the upcoming year

As of 7 p.m. Sunday, more than $170,000 was raised and COTS is confident their goal will be reached when all the donations come in, said COTS Development Director Becky Holt.

Members of a team from youth groups at the Jericho United Methodist Church, the United Church of Underhill and the Covenant Community Church were walking for the first time as one big group, according to Gretchen Wright, 16, of Jericho.

Wright said she had her sister Anastasia Wright, 17, had done the walk a few times before. Though Gretchen Wright said she wished it was sunnier, she was excited to be doing the walk with her youth group.

“It’s fun and it’s a good cause,” Gretchen Wright said, adding that the group had raised almost $400 for the cause. “There’s such great energy here and so many great people here, and all the kids and the balloons and everything.”

At Markley’s cue, Sambatucada, a Burlington-based Afro-Brazilian samba percussion band, led walkers out of the park and along the three-mile route around the city. Walkers bobbed to the beat of the drums, some kids dancing along the path, as they were led out of Battery Park.

After marching down Church Street, where walkers were greeted by volunteers who helped them cross the intersections, walkers stopped first at the Waystation, the nighttime shelter. They then swung around to the Family Shelter on Main Street, and eventually reached the First Congregational Church on South Winooski Avenue.

The event had begun at the Congregational Church, said Lucy Samara, the church’s director of Outreach Ministry. Samara said she used to be on the COTS board of directors, and she started the event with another volunteer Gail Anderson.

Samara said the event has grown “immensely” since it began in 1990.

“If you go back to 1990, there was a real need for money as equally a strong need to raise awareness,” Samara said. “I think there was a bit of a feeling that maybe people in Vermont didn’t understand why homelessness was increasing. The group that pulled this event together, because we had a great founding committee, our contention was that the community needed to be able to show that they cared.”

At the end of the walk, participants dug into scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and listened to a performance by American Idol finalist James Durbin as raindrops began to fall from the sky.

Though Samara said the event is fun for everyone who participates, she added that many families use the walk as an introduction for their kids to philanthropy and caring about issues in the community.

“The walk has always been about walking the walk of someone who is homeless in our community,” Samara said.

Lois Farnham of Burlington said she has walked and volunteered in the past at the walk, and that though she loves the event, she wishes it didn’t need to be held.

“I wish that there wasn’t any homeless people,” Farnham said. “The reality of it is there are people out there who need help.”

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LizMurraySMC.

To learn more

Go to http://cotsonline.org/

May 5, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Give ‘em a beat at Edmunds Elementary School

Third, fourth and fifth grade students at Edmunds Elementary School on Friday put their music skills to the test. Visiting them were Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin, who goes by the moniker “DJ Apple Juice.”

The duo brought with them equipment from their Beat Making Lab project, the makings of an electronic studio small enough to fit in a backpack. They travel around the world working with communities to make “beats” and helplocals express themselves and make a difference in budding musicians’ lives.

According to its website the project began about two years ago as a course focusing on music production and entrepreneurship in the music department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Armed with a laptop, keyboard and microphone, Freelon and Levitin use recorded sound samples to create original music pieces. On Friday, the Edmunds students were able to experience the process first-hand.

Asked which artists they associated with “making beats,” the students called out names of popular artists including 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Nicki Minaj and more. Those artists likely utilize the same equipment as the Beat Making Lab, Freelon said.

“You’re kind of inside our studio, the Beat Making Lab studio, right now,” he said.

As part of the presentation, students viewed videos from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Fiji. Labs have been held in Senegal, Panama and more.

All the music featured was produced by other students, some as young as the Edmunds children, Freelon said.

He explained how the local culture played into the songs and asked if any Edmunds students spoke Swahili, the language featured in the Democratic Republic of Congo-made video. A few hands shot up.

Freelon called on volunteers to perform basic beat boxing sounds and then had the group collectively say “Edmunds Elementary.” This was recorded and as students watched videos to learn more about the duo’s work, Levitin got to work, sampling the recordings and stringing together layers of sound.

When finished, the song was played for the excited crowd. Levitin explained how he chopped the recorded words into syllables and added dance and hip hop-style drum beats. Had time allowed, he would have included students’ individual talents, if there was a violinist or trumpet player in their midst, he said.

Levitin said copies of the song would be given to the school so the Edmunds students could continue to work on it as they wished.

Edmunds music teacher Christina Norland said her fifth-grade students will start creating their own music using computers next week.

The ethnically diverse school was the perfect location for the presentation, she said. Her students have in the past performed African dance music, and Norland said the school’s population of students for whom English is a second language are likely to be receptive to the project. Music is understood by all.

“This is the exact school that this ought to happen,” she said.

Edmunds parent and volunteer Claudia Renchy Morton happened to know someone with a connection to the duo and worked to bring them to Edmunds for the afternoon.

Norland explained that Freelon and Levitin were in town to “scope out” Burlington and would be visiting community centers in the hopes of setting up a Beat Making Lab in the Queen City.

For more information visit www.beatmakinglab.com.

Contact Jessie Forand at jforand@freepressmedia.com or 651-4859.

May 4, 2014
Rock D Fresh

JL Audio E-Sub e110: The best small subwoofer yet

This is my first review of a JL Audio subwoofer, which is odd because the brand’s subs have received raves from the audiophile press for 10 years. The wait was absolutely worth it!

I have their new 10-inch E-Sub e110 here, but there’s also a larger 12-inch e112 sub; those two are the least expensive models offered by the company. The engineers managed to maintain most of the unique design features of the more expensive Fathom Series subs in the E-Subs, and someday I’d love to spend time with the top of the line Gotham g213 sub that sports twin 13.5 inch woofers and a 3,800 watt power amp. I’ll need a little help unpacking the g213, it weighs 360 pounds! That bad boy runs $12,000, but I have to say JL Audio’s “baby” e110 sounded like a heavyweight to me.

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JL Audio E-Sub e110
JL Audio

The e110′s ten-inch woofer is the company’s first to be designed exclusively for the home market, the older models drivers were also used in JL Audio’s car and marine divisions subs. The e110′s woofer, as you can see in the photo is unusually deep, its rear end almost touches the interior back wall of the cabinet. A JL Audio engineer explained that deep drivers are more mechanically stable than shallower designs when the woofer is delivering loud, deep bass. The e110′s woofer can maintain low distortion at extremely loud playback levels, which can definitely happen on movie soundtracks with lots of special effects.

The e110′s unusually powerful 1,200 watt class D power amplifier and electronics are designed in JL Audio’s Phoenix, AR facility; that’s rare for a subwoofer manufacturer, they usually source power modules from outside suppliers. The e110′s driver and the rest of the sub are assembled and tested in the company’s plant in Miramar, Fla.

The e110 has speaker- and line-level RCA stereo inputs. I hooked up the speaker-level inputs to my stereo hi-fi system, and the RCA inputs in my two-channel home theater. The 52.7-pound sub measures a compact 14.25 x 13.5×16.5 inches, small enough to comfortably fit in even medium sized rooms. Cabinet construction feels rock solid.

If I had to sum up the e110′s sound in one word it would be precise. Bass notes start and stop on a dime, drum beats sound like sticks hitting a drum head. Most subs sound slower and less distinct, the e110 totally transformed the sound of my Zu Druid V tower speakers. The sound now has weight and gravitas that the Druid V never achieved on its own. The speakers’ sound isn’t overshadowed by the e110, but listening to Nine Inch Nails’ “Hesitation Marks” CD, which has lots of low, low bass, the e110 revealed newfound textures and definition. I’ve had a number of great subs passing through my home, but the e110 is the best I’ve tried.

I popped on the Drive-By Truckers’ “Live from Austin TX” CD, and cranked the volume way up. Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! The e110′s contributions were felt as much as they were heard. Shonna Tucker’s nimble bass lines feel liberated, then I felt more of Brad Morgan beating on his drums, and when that happened the differences between recorded and live music got a lot smaller. So even with a big tower speaker like the Druid V a great sub can bump up the sound and take it to the next level.

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Interior view of the JL Audio e110 subwoofer
JL Audio

I’m not aware of the bass coming from the e110, it seems to be coming from the Druid Vs, but it’s not. Switching off the e110 makes that obvious in a hurry, the foundation drops out, and the Druid Vs sound a little thin. I next hooked up the e110 in my two-channel home theater with my Onkyo TX-SR805 AV receiver, Oppo BD-105 Blu-ray player and KEF LS50 monitor speakers. I had the receiver’s bass management set to an 80 Hertz crossover, and I used the e110′s RCA input. The sub’s tight-fisted bass control and visceral power made the Avatar and Gravity Blu-rays’ sound come alive. Other subs, including some of my favorite Hsu Research subs are still great for the money, but the e110′s bass clarity and definition put it in a different class.

The E-Sub e110′s US price is $1,500 finished in black ash, and $1,700 in Gloss Black; check the company’s website to locate domestic US dealers and international distributors.

May 3, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Ballet Takes to the Streets: French Visual Artist J R Captures World’s Chaos …

NYCB in JR’s ‘Les Bosquets’ | Photo by Paul Kolnik

Throughout the winter season, one of the most-talked about works featuring the New York City Ballet was not a dance but rather an elaborate art installation that carpeted the foyer of the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. The French visual artist J R had embedded nearly life-sized photographic images of the dancers sprawled in what, from above, revealed itself as the outline of a particularly eerie eye.

But that was all meant to stay front-of-house. After all, photography freezes movement and distills it into a single idea; choreography, meanwhile, elongates an idea into a blur of movement and the two are very different skills. So it was something of a shock when NYCB invited J R to create a living, breathing piece of dance on the company—his first ever.

As a result, Les Bosquets, which premiered this week, doesn’t have the DNA of contemporary ballet as we’ve come to expect it. And thank goodness for that. There’s an earnestness in Les Bosquets that’s charming and refreshing.

J R is perhaps best known for his series of portraits of youth in the projects of a Parisian suburb, circa 2004. The black and white headshots, blown-up and plastered around town, provided a poignant and menacing backdrop to the country’s 2005 riots. That moment of violent rebellion provides the narrative foundation of Les Bosquets, so already we have a major departure from modern ballet norms.

Rather than hide in the safety of ancient myths (like Liam Scarlett did with his recent NYCB premiere), J R brought the grimy, complicated parts of our modern world into the theater and on pointe shoes (artistic director Peter Martins is credited with translating J R’s concepts into a ballet vocabulary).

From the beginning, to war-like drum beats, women are carried across the stage with their legs pointed forward like guns or bayonets; later they stomp in formation like riot police or rush from one end of the stage to the other like protesters fleeing tear gas. (Strobe lights in the front cleverly heighten and multiply this effect.)

NYCB in JR’s ‘Les Bosquets’ | Photo by Paul Kolnik

From Tahrir to Taksim, protest has swept the globe in recent years. To try to represent that in the hallowed halls of Lincoln Center seems, on the one hand, almost glib and even insulting. On the other hand, why shouldn’t ballet respond to the politics of the real world?

Theme aside, J R’s other great disruption of ballet convention is the casting of Lil Buck, the Memphis jooking phenom, who gets top billing with NYCB soloist Lauren Lovette. He fills the stage with a vitality and confidence to match some of NYCB’s most exciting members and his unique blend of fluid and fragmented movement tells J R’s tale better than any other physical component of the ballet.

He and Lovette don’t exactly engage in a duet but their shared searching looks convey a youthful, questioning innocence—as caught in video close up (which nods to J R’s earlier photography), it walks a tightrope between gimmick and tragic. You could say the same of the work as a whole but the sincerity and modesty of the effort ultimately triumph.

Les Bosquets doesn’t quite mark J R as a “choreographer to watch” but by approaching the ballet without the weight of that form’s history and expectations, he yanks the NYCB into exciting new territory with a captivating and relevant piece of art. And here’s another revolutionary element about Les Bosquets that is simply unheard of in the world of dance: at eight minutes long, it’s way too short.

Lil Buck and Lauren Lovette of NYCB in JR’s ‘Les Bosquets’ | Photo by Paul Kolnik

May 2, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Michelin Fill Up With Air campaign promotes tyre care

michelin-fuwa

Some 1,000 people took part in the recent Michelin Fill Up With Air 2014 campaign in Penang to discover the importance of maintaining correct tyre pressures and road safety. The two-day event, held at Tesco Tanjung Pinang, offered motorists free tyre pressure checks and fill ups. There were also interactive activities, contests and games for the young ones.

“Millions of drivers put themselves at risk everyday by failing to properly check the tyre pressure of their vehicles. In fact, an alarming rate of three out of four cars run on under-inflated tyres, compromising road safety, decreasing tyre service life and increasing fuel consumption. For the environment, this means tonnes of additional and unnecessary carbon emissions annually,” said Beltran Yturriaga, MD of Michelin Malaysia.

“In the case of insufficient air pressure, a tyre’s tread life is reduced through increased tread wear on the outer edges of the tyre. It also generates excessive heat which reduces tyre durability and decreases fuel economy due to higher rolling resistance, requiring the affected vehicle to burn more fuel to maintain the same level of desired speed. This forces your vehicle to work harder,” Yturriaga added.

Michelin Malaysia organised its first FUWA campaign in 2011 and since then, has performed free tyre pressure checks for more than 4,100 motorists and educated more than 5,100 members of the public on the importance of safety on the road.

When was the last time you checked your tyre pressure, and how often do you do so? If you don’t remember, it must have been awhile, so go on and fill those rubber donuts up!

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May 1, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Hermetically sealed worlds



KATHMANDU, APR 30 –
As a beat kicks in and very low, deep synths permeate the atmosphere, what was a modest room full of people chatting away transforms into one of enthusiastic eyes focused on a slightly elevated stage where Tanvi Rao and Rahul Giri are stopping over their macbooks and midi-controllers. Giri tweaks parameters in his MPD32, while Rao adds depth to the sounds as she loops her mildly smoky voice, creating multilayered textures as the song builds up. There are no spotlights on them, no laser projections. They sway their bodies slowly with the sounds they create, forming silhouettes against the Apollo 11 launch footage projected in the backdrop. This is sulk station.

“I was associated with some musical acts when in college. I played keys for a prog rock band and also had a cappella group,” says Rao, remembering her college days, the time when she actually started indulging in music. “I met Rahul during our final year. He introduced me to electronic music and I think that has widened my taste and sense for sound.” Rao, a native of Bangalore, got together with Giri—who had left Kathmandu to study in India—to form Sulk Station in 2009, a downtempo electronica outfit.

The duo’s music in not EDM in any way, although as soon as the word electronica is introduced, artistes are generally misclassified into the genre. Their music is what could be labeled as sombre, one which isolates the listener in its ambience. The downtempo nature of their sound creates something like an environment drenched in the feeling of suspense, which envelopes the listener, taking him or her to an outright ethereal world. It might not be ‘happy music’, but it certainly is trippy. Some media reports and pre-show profiles have tagged them as a trip-hop group, but Giri says that the genre is too vague a term and covers a very wide range of artistes. The musician does, however, admit to having been heavily influenced by acts like Massive attack and Portishead in the past.

Sulk Station’s music is difficult to define and classify within a certain genre because their soundscape is so vast. Some piano pieces are very jazzy, accompanied as they are by Rao’s vocals, which weave between western harmonics and eastern classical note patterns. But the predominant aspect of their sound is the fact that it manages to take the audience into a state of dark isolation and solitude. This probably has a lot to do with the song-writing process of the artistes. Giri, who mostly spends time deconstructing samples to create new sounds and beats, sends short clips that he creates to Rao, which the singer in turn sings over and sends back. This process repeats and once they have a structure, they then get together in the studio to give it a more defined shape. So it’s almost like their compositions evolve over time. “We do not work with a set template when we are creating music. We work on our own and try to combine our inputs and put it together,” says Giri. Rao adds that it is important for the two of them to work in a secluded environment because they can express themselves best that way. “My creations deal with unrequited love and yearning, so it is important for me to work alone,” says Rao. “As for me, it’s about being in a dark place,” says Giri. Their self-released debut album, Till You Appear, does hint at their contemplative process through the atmosphere the 10 tracks manage to conjure. The sound has a lot of negative-space. There aren’t notes being played all the time, there aren’t fancy solos or superfast drum beats. Their work is minimalist and spacey. This leavens Sulk Station’s sound, turning them mellow, dramatic. And the hermetic seal the duo creates is made up of richly layered timbres of synths, basses and Rao’s moody vocals—delayed and looped at just the right places.

Both Rao and Giri have been working on music full-time since they finished college. Rao teaches music, while Giri DJs and produces music under the alias _RHL. Owing to this, it has been possible for the band to sustain themselves whilst being picky regarding the gigs they choose to play. “Some people ask us to come and perform at shows, but they usually want us to play happier stuff than what we normally do,” says Tanvi. Sulk Station, indeed, is not for everybody. The downtempo quality of the tracks asks for a whole lot of patience on the audience’s part, and people can’t really dance to the songs they perform, which in social gatherings could prove to be a letdown. Furthermore, their songs do not have a defined structure to them, which might make it difficult for people to comprehend them—and we have this tendency of despising what we do not understand. “We stay away from places where we can’t be ourselves,” says Giri. “This selective behavior probably also shows people that we are serious about what we do,” adds Rao.

Posted on: 2014-04-30 09:08


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Apr 30, 2014
Rock D Fresh

The Murlocs, 25th April 2014 @ Howler

The Murlocs

Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s idiosyncratic wail has found a fitting home at the aptly-named Howler. The sequestered Brunswick venue is the backdrop for The Murlocs frontman’s growls, howls, and shrieks at tonight’s high-energy launch of their debut LP, Loopholes.

Speaking of howling, nocturnal emissions might not be a term that springs to mind when describing opening bands, but the generous collection of warm-up acts (local groups Teeth Tongue, The Frowning Clouds, and DD Dumbo) could well indeed be “a wet dream come true”, to use Kenny-Smith’s own words.

Teeth Tongue in particular do a fine job of building the anticipation in advance of The Murlocs’ set. Most of tonight’s sold-out crowd gather in the band room for a dose of the group’s strong vocal harmonies and electronic pop meets post-punk drum beats.

The Murlocs then take to the stage with customary swagger and slip straight into a ambling blues rhythm. The volume of Kenny-Smith’s mic is down too low, resulting in his vocals coming through somewhat indistinctly, but this is quickly rectified and the band set about doing what they do best, dishing out their eccentric garage blues rock with slightly unhinged panache.

With a relatively fledgling group like The Murlocs, there’s always going to be a hitch in their giddy-up, and battle between good and evil for this band pits the strength of their frontman against the occasional patchiness of their songwriting.

The kid is a star, there’s no doubt about it – baby-faced he may be, but the charismatic Kenny-Smith possesses the kind of distinctive voice around which a band’s entire sound can be built.

The building is still in the construction phase, and with Loopholes, the band set a hard task for themselves in having to flesh out live songs that at their core, are sometimes a little hollow.

This is compounded by the fact that the group play their trump card perhaps a touch too early, leaving them with nowhere higher to go. The excellent ‘Space Cadet’ is the third song of the set and it’s a track that best shows the songwriting promise the group is capable of; Kenny-Smith’s voice radiates on the clear, catchy melody, and the sauntering, surf-rock tinged 4×4 beat is a source of effortless momentum.

Title track ‘Loopholes’ is likewise a highlight, with a hulking, ominous bassline combining with the rhythmic snap of the snare drum on a formidable blues excursion.

Elsewhere it’s evident that the Loopholes output is a little more inconsistent. The new single ‘Paranoid Joy’ is something of an oddity; its skittish psychedelic guitar jangle contrasts the band’s more blues-based tracks, and though well-received by the audience, the song trips up the flow of the set.

Where The Murlocs consolidate their live talent is from within the familiarity of their older material. The slowed down, swampy blues recalls links to their other outfit, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, with echoing vocal effects and a fiery rhythm bolstered by drummer Matt Blach.

‘Rattle The Chain’ puts Kenny-Smith’s harp skills to good use, and the wash of tremolo guitar is a welcome variation on the sometimes-stagnant r n’ b pattern the band follow on their newer material.

‘Tee Pee’ comes towards the end of the set and is a crowd favourite, with the group clearly feeling settled into the dirty, rough-hewn garage-psychedelic rock and crashing cymbals.

There’s a plus and a minus in tonight’s equation, sure, but with just a little more time, it won’t take a genius to work out that The Murlocs have all the components of a winning formula.

Read the review of Loopholes by The Murlocs here


Apr 29, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Music Week Presents: Frett

Pelting from the partition between Suffolk and Essex, Frett have gained significant exposure in a multitude of areas within the UK. With an ever- continual growth in their fan base, Frett are driven by their passion for music and have self-recorded, mixed and mastered all release to-date.

Frett’s latest release ‘EP3’ sees Frett at their most creative with soulful vocals over interweaving synth and guitar lines intertwines with the rumbling bass sounds and driving drum beats. The EP pulls together elements of an array of different styles giving Frett a very original sound. The first single from the EP, ‘Porcelain’ captures the bands feel for atmosphere and mood whilst also showing their dynamic edge with a big catchy chorus and a hugely explosive ending.

 

Along with coverage on multiple local radio stations including BBC introducing, the band have had radio play from BBC Radio 1, XFM, Tom Rombinson on BBC 6 Music and Alex Baker on Kerrang! Radio.

Other successes under their belt include having been included on the bill of festivals such as Beach Break Live, Wilestock and the main stage at Brownstock Festival 2013.

The band are currently touring the UK, the details of which are below.

 

Essential info

Artist: Frett

Genre: Alternative, Indie, Electronic

Sounds like: Bombay Bicycle Club, James Blake, Alt J, Pink Floyd

EP: EP3

Release date: 12 May 2014

Website: frett.co.uk

Twitter: @FrettUK

Facebook: facebook.com/frettmusic

YouTube: youtube.com/FRETTUK

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/frettuk

Upcoming tour dates

Contact

General Simon – info@frett.co.uk Phone – 01787 269419

Radio/PR Alex Hall - aj.hall@hotmail.co.uk

 

Click here for more information on Music Week Presents or contact Karma.Bertelsen@intentmedia.co.uk

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Apr 28, 2014
Rock D Fresh

Iron And Wine, 22nd April 2014 @ The Forum

Iron And Wine

All you really need to know about Iron And Wine’s Sam Beam is that he has more than a way with words; the musician has a gift for taking you to a place and a time, a way of plucking you up to stand alongside him in a scene that’s a world away but somehow still incredibly familiar.

Beam understands the ghosts that sit underneath our skin. He’s spent over a decade assigning lines and notes and sounds to something we don’t quite know how to say ourselves.

He’s all heartfelt eloquence and hushed confidence that’s full of restraint – only letting the intensity that sits below the surface peek through just enough.

Much like Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Beam has driven Iron And Wine from a solo moniker to something bigger and bolder than even he could never have fathomed.

The days of albums recorded in small dusty rooms with nothing but a guitar have given way to bluesy, jazz-fused flourishes delivered by the hands of a five-piece band.

Which means an Iron And Wine show really happens in two parts.

There are the songs that beg for an open fire and the smell of pine, then the ones that shimmer and shine, lifting you onto your toes bring the weight out from your chest.

But we’ll get to that soon.

First, the soaking wet, thick, grey Melbourne night began with Victorian up-and-comer D.D Dumbo (aka Oliver Perry), a one-man show full of looping drum beats, textures, and dense layers of quirky pop.

The headliners then kicked off their close to 100-minute set with ‘Woman King’ before quickly rolling into ‘Sunset Soon Forgotten’ and ‘Boy With A Coin’ – songs originally recorded with a folky acoustic feel, but transformed into full band jams. This set the tone for the night.

Every song was given a twist, be it via full reinvention, or simply through varied pacing, sang slightly off the usual beats and inflections.

The early part of the set managed to be simultaneously soaring and intricate, but it wasn’t until Beam gave his band mates a break and picked up his acoustic that the show really started to crackle.

The artist called for requests from the crowd: they came shyly at first, but then flowed freely throughout the 30-ish minute solo portion.

He first settled for ‘The Trapeze Swinger’, a track, he recounted, that was written nearby in a Melbourne hotel room.

‘Southern Anthem’ and ‘Sodom, South Georgia’ also featured in the Beam-only set, which concluded with ‘Such Great Heights’ – a Postal Service cover that he made his own.

Then it was back to full band and newer, rootsy Americana material, such as the poppy-but-nostalgic ‘Tree By The River’ and the dirge-y ‘Grace For Saints and Ramblers’.

And despite what his lyrically heavy subject matter suggests, Beam is a delightful, light, and surprisingly funny presence on stage. (“This song’s called ‘A Stranger Laid Beside Me’. You all know what that’s like,” he quipped.)

Though the sound of the newer full band is admirably precise, at times it could be accused of bordering on lounge music, bar for the frontman’s voice. That voice is is what sets Iron And Wine deep in your bones.

These powerful vocals ended the show, with the artist once again solo on stage for a completely instrument-free version of ‘Flightless Bird, American Mouth’.

It was so quiet and still inside The Forum that at one moment you could have sworn you could hear the trams racing by on Flinders Street.

He held a guitar but never touched it, and pushed his voice to its highest place in an unforgettable closer.  That’s the thing about Sam Beam.


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