Dirty Projectors, Wye Oak The Kessler Theater Friday, August 3
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Dirty Projectors, and David Longstreth particularly, are incredibly adept musicians that wear their musical smarts on their sleeves. But idiosyncratic arrangements and vocals that, while not jarring are hardy mellifluous, can make sitting through an entire album more of a chore than a pleasure. On stage, in an intimate room, those same attributes can create an incredibly exciting performance.
Kicking off the set with the title track from their new Swing Lo Magellan, the six-piece band started things with warm tones of light projected on scrims behind them, and the song was the band at its most conventional. Things drifted into unconventional with "Offspring Are Blank," allowing the two and three part harmonies to come alive.
Amber Coffman's combination of guitar and vocals was impressive, as was the solid foundation of bassist Nat Baldwin and drummer Michael Johnson. The set featured a few more cuts from Swing Lo Magellan, with highlights from Bitte Orca punctuating the evening.
Opening the evening was Baltimore's Wye Oak. Having spent a fair amount of time hanging in the OC mixing last year's Civilian with John Congleton, guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer/keyboardist/bassist Andy Stack interspersed shout-outs (Spiral Diner was a definite haunt) with really strong hooks.