The Barbican Center
Since you can’t turn 360 degrees without bumping into another drab World Cup match, it seems apt that tonight’s gig is a game of two distinct halves. The first hour sees Dirty Projectors’ loose-necked, streaky brainchild Dave Longstreth reassemble his 2005 concept album ‘The Getty Address’ along with 15-piece NYC orchestra Alarm Will Sound. Whilst backing singers Amber and Angel are ever-resplendent in matching red and yellow riding-hoods it does little to mask the challenging complexity of Longstreth’s early creation (it’s an abstract story based on Don Henley, founder of The Eagles). Brass and percussion poly-fill the fragile holes in the original record but it’s still mildly tough going. “That was some music I wrote when I was 21,” pipes the singer after a half-time team talk. “Now we’re in a rock band”. Rock band indeed. The sextet tumble forward much more confidently, with a second half of songs from their most recent effort, 2009’s ‘Bitte Orca’. ‘Two Doves’ is a gentle and lovelorn reintroduction and ‘Stillness Is The Move’ warms the room like a powdery rainbow with its TLC-esque strut. Tonight is reall a reminder that this band are still a work in progress, and perhaps will be forever. They flit between the inspired and the insipid but there are enough clues that Longstreth might yet have a truly classic album up his sleeve.
Originally published in issue 19 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2010