Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dirty Projectors – July 21 at Theatre Plaza

Before the post-crash Dirty Projectors could take the stage for their first headlining Montreal show supporting (album-of-the-year?) Bitte Orca, the three jangly noise-makers known as Skeletons provided the crowd both with 40 minutes of jubilant math-rock-meets-chamber-pop and the shortest, tightest pair of shorts worn by a guitarist, possible ever. Other than wondering if those were really comfortable, the question on everyone's mind was, of course, are they better than BODIES?

Dirty Projectors
Instead of once again riffing on the musical prowess spilling from Brooklyn's sexiest indie sextet, I'd like to start with two firsts: one, the first photo on this weblog, showcasing a rather happy fan with vocalist Haley Dekle holding the first ever sign brought to a Dirty Projectors concert (as confirmed by Angel Deradoorian when the young fellow cried out for the band to play "The Bride").

One of the more obtuse tracks from Bitte Orca, it turns out that "The Bride" hasn't translated well live, what with all that weirdness getting in the way of pitch. In other words, they didn't play the song, but Mr. Sign didn't seem too fazed by it.

As for the songs they did play, the super-stereo vocals-imitating-instruments placed at the head of "Remade Horizon" proved a solid segue from the now-standard opening duo of "Two Doves" and "Cannibal Resource." Soon after, the straight-forward beat(z) on "No Intention" were a little fast, but as strong as ever, providing just enough space for the rippling strings to work their worldly magic.

Though the 4-piece version of the band played the same three tracks from Rise Above at their Bonnaroo set, they switched things up by smoothly transitioning from "Gimme Gimme Gimme" to "Thirsty and Miserable" on a next-level noise wave. Oh, and then the vocals on "Stillness is the Move" were just alright (joke), and most likely out-R&B'd the full-fledged Beyoncé bonanza (she played "Say My Name"!!) happening across town the same night.

All in all, the sound could have been better (if more bodies and accompanying skeletons had been wise enough to fill Theatre Plaza to capacity), the drums and bass were as loud, tight, and possibly as taken for granted as ever (as it happens when the vocals steal the show), though the finer points of what makes a live Dirty Projectors show so great were all there: musical/spiritual leader Dave Longstreth's awkward-yet-magnetic presence and the squeaky fret noises emanating from his white Strat; the band's sheer exuberance when finally letting loose on relatively simpler songs; and the not-so-secret triple-threat of Amber, Angel, and Haley. Call them...Amgeley.

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