Wednesday, February 28, 2007

my first blizzard: underwhelming. my first iron & wine concert: beyond all expectations.

well, the blizzard of 2007 certainly fell short of what i was anticipating. while we got the second biggest snowstorm total on record, it was much less devastating that i expected. growing up in Kansas, i always heard tales of horrible blizzards, stories like "i couldn't see my hand in front of my face!" and "we had to tie a string from our house to the barn (or garage) so we wouldn't get lost!" this was nothing like that, it was just a heavy snow. maybe i slept through the white-out conditions. maybe i wasn't awakened by the howling winds. but by mid-day the main roads were almost completely melted and the snow was only rat-terrier deep (i measure snow by the size of dog that gets hidden in the sidewalk shovel paths). i am disappointed.

but my life isn't full of dissatisfaction. a few weeks ago, tony and i journeyed to windy milwaukee on a frigid thursday night to see a rare solo show by sam bean of iron & wine at the pabst theater. if you haven't heard iron & wine, i can't recommend them (him) enough. (although you may not know you have; their cover of the postal service's "such great heights" was recently on an M&Ms commercial.) all the music and lyrics are written by one guy, sam beam, but he records and tours with a backing band. his songs are quiet and powerful, which capture you with their breathy beauty and deceptive simplicity.

i had never been to the pabst theater, but now i'm completely hooked. well worth the two hour drive, it's an old playhouse with amazing acoustics; tony and i were in the third row from the top in the second balcony, but it felt like we were on the orchestra floor. it was a very intimate performance - just sam, his acoustic guitar and a glass of wine. the crowd was amazing as well; they were almost silent throughout every song. here are a few partial songs that some folks recorded, and you'll notice how quiet the crowd was.

sodom south georgia
upward over the mountain
trapeze singer

i wish i could tell you how wonderful, how moving this show was. i think that his music almost more beautiful live and solo than it is recorded, which i've often craved.

i'll leave you with this quote that has stuck in my mind since i saw the show, from a new song called 'pagan angel and a stolen car'...

"and the pagan angel said, my love is meant to break every bended knee"


Erin said...

I'm still a big fan of "Sea and the Rhythm" even though it's the song that everyone knows. I love his voice. Sigh.

Prue said...

Great work.