I have a small confession in regards to the Dirty Projectors. Up until this morning, I didn't own any of their albums and been subsisting on what I could find on the internets, which isn't necessarily terrible, but nonetheless I went into the show not knowing as much as I should have. Outside the club before the show, a food critic came up to us and asked who was playing tonight. The next question, she asked was the inevitable "What do they sound like?" Some bro, who was looking for scalpers, said they sounded like Grizzly Bear if they were fronted by Mariah Carey. I couldn't help but think that he was slightly off in this assessment, and furthermore I don't think that sort of description is going to help a 56 year old woman deduce what the music is going to sound like. Unless, older women listen to Grizzly Bear, and while that may be possible, somehow I don't think that is the case. Personally, I think the Dirty Projectors have a vibe that is akin to a new millennium version of the Talking Heads.
The whole "What do the Dirty Projectors sound like" topic is one of the more bandied about discussions that circulate on the internets. The AV Club did an interview with frontman David Longstreth yesterday, and the entire interview revolved around the comparisons that critics have made in regards to the band. It was quite the illuminating conversation, and highlights include Longstreth calling a Pitchfork quote slightly hyperbolic and how comparing them to the Beach Boys is pretty lazy.
The show itself was quite rad. The only problem, and this is 100% a personal thing, is that it was pretty packed inside the club. And that's not really a bad thing, but I'm claustrobrobic. I can't be around that many bros. Tons and tons of bros, all sweating and lusting and cramming their way through, spilling beer in the process. It gets to a point where it feels like the walls are caving in, and I'm going to drown in a sea of flannel and oversized glasses.
As far as the show went, I'm working under the impression that the band's set was comprised of all the tracks off of Bitte Orca, the latest album from the group and the one that is getting the kind of love that puts it on the same level as Merriweather Post Pavilion and Veckatimest in terms of amazing albums for 2009. The songs performed live sounded slightly different than they do on record, but if anything I thought they just sounded more ballsy. I suppose I could talk about the complex time signatures that were employed and the key changes, but I don't understand any of that shit and chances are I never will.
This show wasn't that loud in terms of volume, but the songs still managed to remain in my head. It was all just so damn likable, like menthol cigarettes. Looking at the crowd, it became apparent that there are some people who absolutely love this band, which a wonderful thing to witness. I had a foggy idea of what was going on and what I was hearing, but I dug it. I know that much. I still may not "get" it, but I was still there. I heard it. I saw it. The internets makes mention of these pop sensibilities and attempts at R&B, but I've yet to actually hear that. The whole thing seemed to hit a much more primal nature, in that music is good and live music is better. Oh, and before I forget. The encore was terrific. And while the crowd didn't dance, they all left grinning.