Crowds shuffled into the Buckhead Theatre on Friday November 11th not, to escape the abnormally cold temperatures for the season, but to be warmed by the sounds of Iron and Wine and Marketa Irglova.
Inside the former Roxy Theatre a full house awaited the soft and soothing tones of the two performers, but what they received was much more dynamic. Iglova began the night with an intimate performance filled with aggressive harmonies and unusual yet inviting hand percussion by her vocal partner.
After playing several of her songs from previous records and the one that is currently under the works, titled Anar, Iglova left the stage. The following performance from Sam Beam, the mastermind behind Iron and Wine, surprised the crowd.
Beam came out with a large ten piece band including a three piece horn line, two percussionists, and Iglova and her singing partner on backup vocals. Beam has been known to tour with larger bands, though the horn line was a new addition to his line-up. This extension of the band played a key role in the versions of the songs that were played.
Beam and company began with “Rabbit Will Run,” a new tune off of his recently released album, Kiss Each Other Clean. It was evident that the songs had been arranged around the evolved instrumentation rather than having a backing band for Beam’s acoustic guitar. A roaring baritone saxophone laid the ground for a funky instrumental break midway through the song that got the crowd dancing.
From here the artists weaved in and out of playing tracks from their most recent album and playing tunes from Beam’s extensive discography. Though they dug back quite far into their repertoire, playing songs from Beam’s debut album Creek Drank the Cradle which is greatly known for it low-key, intimate feeling, no song was played without being dissected and turned inside out.
Songs such as Boy With a Coin and Free Till They Cut Me Down were received by the audience with a wave of excitement. The noise during the song wasn’t what made the night as interesting as it was.
In between songs, Beam is notorious for talking with the crowd. Atlanta was eager to take advantage of this and join the conversation. From marriage proposals to song requests, no comment was left unsaid. The occasional unwelcome word was spoken, but Beam laughed it off and said, “You guys are nuts.”
Beam ended his set with the first single from his latest album, Tree by the River. After the crowd sang along word for word, Beam said his good-byes and left the stage. Several minutes of chants and no leaving parties later, Beam arrived back on stage, acoustic in hand.
Beam had played the venue the night before his Friday show in order to shoot a new performance video. He said he had gotten the same requests two nights in a row, and decided to play “Sodom South Georgia,” just him and the acoustic.
Though Beam normally performs four or five songs by himself acoustically at his shows, ending the evening on a single acoustic performance gave the performance a finality it needed from the funk-driven set that came before it. Appreciative and thankful as always in his word, Beam thanked the crowd and left the stage, leaving the crowd happy knowing that though his music has evolved, his music remains true and alive in its purest form.