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March 15, 2010 | by  | in Music |
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The Dirty Projectors (San Francisco Bathhouse 04/02/10)


I have always had a theory that the Dirty Projectors band leader Dave Longstreth starts his composition process by writing a very simple song, based on set of pleasant root melodies and chords. Then, after hearing this first draft, he proceeds with great effort to fuck the song up as much as possible without losing those cheery beginnings. It’s music that comes across as deceptively bright; material that implies you should be able to sing and clap alongside the band. But the amusing thing is, you probably can’t. Longstreth just likes to fuck with you. Why? Because there is nothing funnier for him than watching someone get into ‘Stillness Is The Move’ only to hear their voices crack as they fail to reach the high notes, completely miss the on-beat for the chorus of ‘Tenecula Sunrise’, or lose track of the tempo during ‘Useful Chamber’.

Now, just to clarify this: I don’t actually think Dave Longstreth gets off on watching people embarrass themselves, I actually find the misleading or random aspects of the Dirty Projectors’ music to be one their most rewarding features. I thought their latest record Bitte Orca was one of the best albums of last year, and I also found their show to be one of the most rewarding live experiences that I have had in a while. With most of the material plucked from Bitte Orca (totally ignoring 2007’s Rise Above), it seemed like we caught a band willing to acknowledge that they had fully hit their stride, and there really was a lot of joy to be had in watching a band made up of six incredibly proficient musicians. Though Longstreth largely dominated most of the gig with his quirkily virtuosic guitar and vocal stylings, it was the band’s trio of female vocalists that made the show so likable—an assertion evident in the huge applause given to Amber Coffman at the end of her solo vocal for ‘Stillness is The Move’.

As is always the case with a concert review of these sorts, is this just a case of me wanking about a gig that you may or may not have attended? Will this information be of any use to you? Well, with their future output looking unlikely to disappoint, I doubt we will have heard the last of these guys. This band will definitely hit our shores again in a few years, they’ll still be awesome, and we’ll both be there to bob along in a slightly confused manner.

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