The show in Philly last night was the best Philly show ever, even Dave Longstreth said so.
“I mean it,” he said.
He was right. In the hot, humid basement of the First Unitarian Church, the best band in the world right now blew up the stage with fearsome harmonies, guitar licks fit for flying dinosaurs and exuberance beyond comprehension. I’m seriously at a loss for words. If I could, i’d craft a song in response.
But I’m not Dave Longstreth, nobody is, except him. I’ve never heard songs like his before, and I don’t think you have either. People talk like DP’s are an art band, a Brooklyn band, an indie band, blah blah, but really they defy all categorization. Last night in Philly the crowd was filled with urban hippies- they don’t exist here in NY. If the show were in Brooklyn the crowd would be hipster centric. And if the show were in California, there’d be a mix. This doesn’t really mean much but it’s a testament to the band’s versatility, attitude and style. No matter who you are or where you are, they’re a great band.
The sound is just so strange. It’s thick with intricacy. Without one voice, or one guitar, the sound would melt.
Longstreth writes his songs like a classical musician and he conducts them, too. He struts and jumps around the stage, giving eye signals and hand motions to his band mates, who follow him studiously, tirelessly. My friend said he was like a cult leader. I could see that.
The band played for nearly 90 minutes, making their way through almost all the tracks on the new album, Bitte Orca, and many older songs, including the heart stopping “Rise Above.”
Usually I like a band for it’s music, and not vocals and lyrics. In the case of Dirty Projectors, it’s all about the vocals. While drummer Brian McComber is certainly rocking- and he plays this big high cymbal incessantly, which creates a crashing tinny sound that adds a lot to the songs- the real lushness comes from the charming vocal harmonies sung by Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and new member Haley Dekle, countered by Longstreth’s tortured wail. You couldn’t ask for a better sound. They’re almost like whales calling to each other.
The show started with a duet: Longstreth on guitar and Deradoorian on vocals. She sang the song he wrote for her, “Two Doves,” and the audience was immediately transported to outer showland. The band came on stage directly after- while Deradoorian beamed from the audience response (see above)- and immediately launched into “Cannibal Resource,” a pounding and driving force of a song.
Another highlight was, of course, cute and tiny Amber Coffman putting her guitar down to dance around a bit and sing “Stillness Is The Move,” the R & B and African roots jam on the new album.
This was an all-ages show. They sold beer in the back but i didn’t see anyone drink any. But seriously, I think everyone was still high. On music, man.