Backed by a band featuring some of Chicago's finest all-around utility musicians (guitarist Jim Becker of Califone and bassist Matt Lux in particular), Sam Beam's Iron and Wine songs are in good hands on the new major label album, Kiss Each Other Clean—an album that somehow feels adventurous and like a slice of AM radio gold you didn't know you missed. All of the above held true at a cozy, friends-and-family gig Thursday night at the comfortable roadhouse we like to call the Hideout. The band played a special XRT mini-set before hand so by the time it went on for its full set, it was loosened up in every sense. Beam, though nursing a cold, drew attention to the casual vibe that surrounded the gig, joking about it being a "rehearsal" and about "dissent" within the band's ranks over the set list—and complaining about Texas allergies. He alternated between acoustic guitar and a Gibson SG, while Becker plucked mandolin when appropriate. Horns from members of Nomo and Antibalas lent extra color and sometimes a blast to the new Iron and Wine tunes, many of which have R&B, funk and fusion touches interwoven with Beam's otherwise folk-leaning tunes. The band even jammed on a hazy jazz number—this gig was anything but indie-folk-by-numbers. But more than that, it was about as close to a hometown gig as one can imagine, despite the fact that Beam calls Texas home—his management, band for the new album live here and the album was mostly tracked in Chicago by Brian Deck of Red Red Meat fame. Though I didn't make it the following night, I'm confident all this translated well at the Riviera—where Beams crossover fanbase of Sub Pop followers and Bonnaroo attendees was likely sent home with a very special buzz. Iron and Wine's new album is one of the best and least expected fusions you'll hear all year.
Iron and Wine at the Riviera, set list, after the jump
Iron and Wine at the Riviera, set list
Boy With A Coin Summer In Savannah Wolves Lion's Mane Me And Lazarus Cinder And Smoke Biting Your Tail Swans And The Swimming Walking Far From Home Big Burned Hand Love And Some Verses He Lays In Reins Tree By The River House By The Sea Fever Dream Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me -- Naked As We Came