Every so often, one hears a band with a sound so unique that the one inevitably expects a mediocre live performance. And really, anyone who’s heard Dirty Projectors has to have at some point or another wondered at the successful onstage execution of their eccentrically intricate instrumentals and complex harmonization (which comes together to form concentrated goodness). Naturally, expectations were high at their Boston show on the 19th at the Paradise, which was completely sold out. After a somewhat underwhelming performance by opening act Callers, the members of Dirty Projectors were given a hero’s welcome of the sort that is usually reserved for the encore.
Opening with the title track of their latest album, Swing Lo Magellan, their set consisted mostly of songs from the latter album, as well as from the well-loved Bitte Orca. All was delivered with the kind of self-assurance of a band that’s been around the block (not to mention the world) and is well-aware of its auditory magnetism. One of the highlights of the show, however, was probably when the ladies of the group took center stage in their performance of “Beautiful Mother,” which is off of their collaboration album with Bjork. I was overjoyed and relieved to discover that their unnervingly beautiful harmonization sounds as good, if not better, live. Lead vocalist Amber Coffman also had her chance to showcase her pipes with her solo songs, “Stillness is the Move” and “The Socialites.”
As with any good show, the energy of the audience is almost as important as the performance itself, and the almost worshipful attitude of the crowd gave the whole experience a surreal feel. While the band members themselves didn’t interact with the audience too much, front man David Longstrength paused long enough to get in a solid “Yeah Amerrca.”