Iron And Wine performs at the Riviera Theatre on March 4
Photo: The Recording Academy
Iron And Wine
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By Sarah Mudler
On a blustery March 4 evening the stunning architecture and old-timey vibe of Chicago's historic Riviera Theatre proved the perfect backdrop for the first show on South Carolina native Sam Beam's (aka Iron And Wine) spring tour. Not to mention the abundance of Chicago musicians that make up his band — five members of the eight-piece call the city home and three come from Chicago natives experimental rock band Califone — Joe Adamik, Jim Becker and Ben Massarella.
Hitting the road in support of his latest album and major label debut Kiss Each Other Clean (produced by yet another Chicago native, Brian Deck), Beam, under his Iron And Wine moniker, has spent the last 10 years making a name for himself as one of the latest great American storytellers.
Warming up the stage for the sold-out room were yet another group of Chicago players, Thrill Jockey Records mainstays Eleventh Day Dream, who were followed by a warm welcome from WXRT DJ and local rock aficionado Lin Brehmer.
"Twenty years from now, you'll be telling your friends that you were here, and they missed it!" announced Brehmer, making note of the palpable anticipation and energy in the room.
Iron And Wine took the stage, bathed in blue light and to the delight of the roaring crowd. In his typical friendly banter, Beam took to the microphone explaining that he had lost his voice, and apologizing to the crowd, said, "We'll get through this together!"
Once the set began, I doubt many attendees even noticed a difference, as the more-than-full band and wistful backing vocals of Rosie Thomas and Markéta Irglová (an Oscar-winning songwriter known for her role in the Swell Season) jumped in to fill the holes where Beam might not have been as strong.
The set was eclectic to say the least, jumping from new jams with more lush and diverse instrumentation to crowd favorites from previous releases that had a more stripped-down sound. Peppered with Beam's musings and jokes, the night felt more like a meeting of friends than a sold-out concert, which is a credit to the artist and fans alike.
After a 16-song set, and more than a handful of chorus lines that became stuck in my head for the remainder of the weekend, Iron And Wine came out for one last jam. They closed the night out with "Naked As We Came," a track off 2004's Our Endless Numbered Days, and in this case, not only the band but the entire room helped out on vocals.
"Thank you," said Beam, with a smile and a wave.
To catch Iron And Wine in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
Below is video footage from The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter's interview with Sam Beam of Iron And Wine.
"Boy With A Coin" (iTunes>)
"Summer In Savannah" (iTunes>)
"Wolves (Song Of The Shepherd's Dog)" (iTunes>)
"Lion's Mane" (iTunes>)
"Me And Lazarus" (iTunes>)
"Cinder And Smoke" (iTunes>)
"Biting Your Tail" (iTunes>)
"Swans And The Swimming" (iTunes>)
"Walking Far From Home" (iTunes>)
"Big Burned Hand" (iTunes>)
"Love And Some Verses" (iTunes>)
"He Lays In The Reins" (iTunes>)
"Tree By The River" (iTunes>)
"House By The Sea" (iTunes>)
"Fever Dream" (iTunes>)
"Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me" (iTunes>)
"Naked As We Came" (iTunes>)
(A Midwest girl at heart, Sarah Mudler joined The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter in 2004. Coming from a Detroit rock background, she has expanded her musical interests into everything from pop to blues to jazz to gospel, and even a little country now and again. She can be seen haunting local Chicago venues almost every night of the week, and is currently the Senior Project Manager for the Chicago Chapter.)