LIVE IN MUNICH
NOV 9th 2014 AT KAMMERSPIELE
A beard is – according to the old cliché – a sign of wisdom. At least when it comes to the kind of beard that Sam Beam wears. The songwriter’s almost biblical hairy fuzz seems to tell us: This man has seen it all.
The point is: It seems to be true, musically seen. Once upon a time, Beam has been – under his moniker Iron & Wine – the most silent country folk whisperer to be found. When he covered “Such Great Heights” back in 2004, The Postal Service‘s euphorical indietronics-disco-hit, it seemed like the gentle breath of his careful singing and picking would sway summery grass even in the most thoroughly closed indoor room. And there were songs as “Trapeze Swinger” or “Cinder & Smoke” that were able to cause the heaviest hypnotical effects with the same silent whisper.
So, calm guitar-picking is something that belongs to Beam’s approved skill set. And his way to show variability is not to escape to loudness or big bangs. It’s the play with the tone. In 2011 Iron & Wine presented the album “Kiss Each Other Clean”. And all of a sudden, there was a complete orchestra popping up in your stereo and on the stage. There was soul and jazz, intonized by a skilled bunch a fellow musicians.
Now, (the new album is titled “Ghost On Ghost“) the versatile bearded musician has broadened the horizon even more. He approached springy drums, warm but precise brass movements and women’s choirs. Iron & Wine can do it all. And the real proof isn’t that Beam can play any style you want. But that there are always-changing facettes of the same beautiful, old story to be found below these masterfully crafted veneers. The whisper in the presence of a thunderstorm, the hearkening for the sound of the outside-world and the sorrow in the corner of your eye.
Which colouring of this insidous movements you like best – just a matter of taste. But there’s no doubt, that a night-out at an Iron & Wine concert is rewarding. In 2011, Sam Beam shared the stage with a good dozen of musicians. And for the encore he left them all in silence. He sang alone, a capella, the wunderful song “Flightless Bird”. And it sounded as if there was a whole musical world swinging in the mute. In Munich there will be another chance for such an experience quite soon: On November 9th in the nice hall of Munich’s Kammerspiele. This is gonna be grand theatre. With or without all the props.