ACL Review, Photos: Iron and Wine, Saturday, AMD
Sam Beam offered his family a knowing glance as he walked off the stage Saturday afternoon. He directed it up to the rafters above the AMD stage (second only in capacity to the Bud Light stage on the opposite end of the park) where they’d been watching him perform as Iron & Wine. It was one of those eyebrow-raised, half-smile-looks – as if to say: “that was pretty cool.”
Beam is a soft-spoken Southerner when he’s not onstage (he grew up in South Carolina before relocating to Virginia, Florida, and now just outside of Austin in Oak Hill), and, before the last couple of records, he’d gained popularity for the quiet folk songs he began recording in his bedroom years ago – just Beam and a guitar. But the performance he and his eleven-piece band gave at this year’s ACL Festival was anything but hushed and contained.
The crowd of thousands, instead, found Iron & Wine in a jammy kind of mood – songs from his latest record Kiss Each Other Clean were completely reassembled with horn inflections, guitar solos and (some might argue) superfluous percussion. If you were looking for heartfelt indie-folk this was not your scene. The crowd tried to get behind the tunes they recognized (when they finally recognized them), cheering wildly when the band launched into a reworked version of “Boy With a Coin,” one of the hits from 2007’s The Shepherd’s Dog, and clapping along to Kiss Each Other Clean standout track “Tree By The River.”
Perhaps the laid-back festival setting brings the jam-band out of Iron & Wine, and even though it was a loose and meandering show at times, the crowd didn’t seem to mind. There was cloud cover, a bit of a drizzle, and a break from hundred-degree heat. As one patron put it, rather concisely: Really solid. Great band. Mixing was good. No complaints. Pretty Cool.
- Andy Uhler