Iron & Wine Played Crowd Requests All Night at Culture Room
Iron & Wine
February 25, 2014
Better than: That show at Dorsch Gallery where he kept fucking up his songs (though he still fucked up a few songs last night).
After last appearing in South Florida with a huge band that included a horn section and two drummers, Samuel Beam, the man behind the impressionistic moniker Iron & Wine, returned to the area with just a pair of acoustic guitars. He also brought along singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop from California.
With her hushed singing and deliberate, rhythmic plucking of an electric guitar, she provided the ideal warmup for Iron & Wine. The tightly-packed crowd stayed so quiet for her that you could hear one guy crunch ice cubes in the crowd and laughter coming from the bathroom. Hoop played pretty, stripped down versions of songs that are actually quite layered and complex from her discography.
Before her last song, she told the audience, "Thank you for being gracious." And they in turn sighed an emphatic "awww" in unison when the DJ booth turned up reggae music before her final song concluded.
Beam stepped out exactly a half-hour later, right on time, at 9 p.m., to an explosion of cheers. "So I don't really have a set list or anything," he told the crowd. "Is there anything you want to hear?" He was met with a barrage of hardly intelligible requests, as everyone seemed to yell out a favorite song at once. "I can only do one song at a time. Man, you guys are the ideal crowd," he said before opening the show with a song written during his days living in Miami: "Lion's Mane."
"I wrote this tune not far from here, so it's nice to play a tune that has a connection to the place," he noted after finishing. Later on, he played "Bird Stealing Bread" adding, "I don't know if I wouldn't have written that tune if I hadn't have lived here."
Beam offered plenty of banter between his austere, evocative songs. As the requests kept coming, someone just yelled out, "Feed us your soul!"
"Trust me when I say, you don't want to taste that," Beam responded.
"I speak for all of us," said the mysterious voice in the crowd. "It would taste divine."
"You all are so fucked up," he responded to laughter and added something about his wife not even liking the taste. At times, the evening felt like a comedy show interspersed with a few sullen songs to reveal the beauty and ugliness of life unvarnished. Sometimes he messed up the melodies or forgot lyrics, but everyone laughed it off, and he would start again.
During "Each Coming Night," he paused for a lyric. Then a chorus of sweet female voices wafted from the chord correcting him. "So fuckin' embarrassing," he said as he continued.
Beam would whistle when some songs were clearly missing instrumentation. During "Woman King," he went, "caw, caw, caw," and paused to say, "This I what we call a musical interlude. Now imagine an amazing solo. Imagine a bird making love with a whale and their love cries turned into marshmallows." People burst out laughing. "That's what my soul would taste like."