Dirty Projectors at Skidmore College (4/13/2013)

23 Apr

Dirty Projectors Ticket

I was thrilled when I heard that Dirty Projectors would be playing at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY, a mere 30 minute drive.  I had been to the venue before some years ago for a Wilco show.  It’s a gymnasium but the acoustics are surprisingly sharp.

My girlfriend, two friends and I arrived unfashionably early and caught the entire set from the opening act, Delicate Steve, while sitting on the risers towards the back of the gym.  Their sound definitely fit in with Dirty Projectors; odd time signatures, interesting instrumentation and an air of neo-psychedelia which fell somewhere in between Animal Collective and Dr. Dog, although the set was almost entirely instrumental but for some unintelligible hollering during one song.  The band exceeded my expectations and are clearly talented musicians but they could definitely benefit from a unique vocalist, or in the case of Dirty Projectors, vocalists.  Without vocals the music felt somewhat flat.  This, however, didn’t stop my friend from purchasing their first record on vinyl from the merch table solely because his roommate’s name is Steve and Steve is indeed delicate.

After Delicate Steve’s set we began to notice that the crowd looked very young.  We saw a number of college kids (or high schoolers playing the part) on our way in but we were attending a show at a college which made total sense.  But certainly a band like Dirty Projectors would have some 20 or 30-somethings in the crowd…  They are, after all, one of the bigger “indie” acts on the East Coast.  They were on Conan this year for heaven’s sake.  But no.  I swear that 90% of the audience had to have been college freshmen.  Drinking out of water bottles with colored liquid (it was a dry show).  Skipping haphazardly around the gym.  And not one, but TWO hula hoopers!  I was pissed.

When Dirty Projectors took the stage the crowd, which was frankly much smaller than I anticipated, swarmed the stage.  And the crowd was annoying.  Kids held loud, trivial conversations in between and during songs.  Couples sway-danced into me repeatedly despite my purposely pointy elbow.  One moron kept doing ‘Lil John’s crunk call, “O-kay!”  The hoopers kept on a hoopin’.  We joked that we should have brought Skip-Its and Ribbon Dancers.  This was all rather unfortunate because the music was fantastic.  After half of the hour-and-a-half-long set my girlfriend and I meandered to the back of the crowd where we enjoyed the rest of the show thoroughly.

Dirty Projectors’ set was unsurprisingly weighted in Swing Lo Magellan; I don’t have the setlist but I definitely recall hearing “Offspring Are Blank,” the title track and “See What She Seeing.”  Lead singer David Longstreth showed a quirky sense of humor in between songs telling the crowd that the moon looked especially like an emogi that night and, at one point, encouraging everyone to visit the merch table for croissants and cheeses among other things that weren’t for sale.

Dirty Projectors also added a few other treats from their catalog which were most welcome, notably “No Intention” and the unbelievable “Beautiful Mother” where female vocalists Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle and Olga Bell delivered with a mind-blowing echo.   As the time neared 11pm the band thanked the audience and stepped down from the stage briefly before resassuming their positions for an encore.  They played “Stillness is the Move,” which everyone seemed to recognize, and “Dance For You” off of their latest which Longstreth unfortunately dedicated to the god damn hula hoopers.

The show was incredibly satisfying but for the young crowd which just goes to show what a bitter old bastard I’ve become in the ten short years since I myself was a college freshman.  Dirty Projectors proved that their sound, however polished it may be in the studio, is a sound that they can take on the road.  And kudos to Amber Coffman for belting out “Stillness is the Move” with twice the intensity that’s on the record.  That’s a big sound for such a tiny little thing!

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One Response to “Dirty Projectors at Skidmore College (4/13/2013)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Joy Formidable at Upstate Concert Hall (4/14/2013) | the self-hating hipster - May 2, 2013

    […] crowd was much more tolerable than other recent concerts (namely Dirty Projectors at Skidmore); it ran the gamut from X-handed high schoolers to buzzed math teachers.  And the music was good! […]

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