Iron and Wine in Concert
The big question was how was the intimate music of Iron and Wine going to translate to the format of a rock concert. The short answer was: it wasn’t. So instead Iron and Wine was transformed into a rock band, albeit an intimate, slow, slightly-rocky rock band. Many of the crowd favourites were spiced up with the addition of electric guitar, bass and drums, given more space and buzz than their original solo acoustic guitar would have made you think was possible. This was meeting old friends after they had grown up and changed their dress-sense – a sense of both seeing the familiar and discovering the new. But the question in such situations is whether the old friendship can survive the mutual changes – in this case the answer that the crowd gave was a resounding yes. Sometimes the songs were so changed they were initially unrecognisable (one suspects deliberately so) – such as with “White Toothed Man”, at other times they were instantly seized upon by the crowd. One revelation for me was Paul Niehaus (of Calexico fame) and his steel guitar. On songs from The Shepherd’s Dog its prominence was emphasised – older songs felt like they should have always had him playing. This was a gig that was not like turning up to hear the album. It was much more rewarding and surprising than that. However, it lacked the raw energy and charisma of Calexico (with whom comparisons are inevitable).