Iron and Wine, Dec. 11 at the Meow Meow

It was nice to see this show sell out. That’s not to say that I necessarily enjoyed the sea of youths spilling over the arcade games, or those insistent few determined to elbow up to the front. What was great about the number of people in attendance was the fact that Sam Beam deserved the captive attention of each and every one of them.

Beam is the creator of some of the best acoustic music of our generation. His soft yet confident vocal style appeals to lo-fi enthusiasts everywhere, while his lyrical content conjures up southern and often religious imagery. How many people can lull little ones to sleep while reminding the rest of us of something we’ve almost forgotten, something we can’t quite name?

Every time I’d seen him before, his sister Sarah was in tow, perfectly harmonizing every line of his beautiful prose. This time, however, she was not, and neither were any members of his usual entourage. Seeing Beam perform solo would be a treat, and my excitement grew with the announcement that much of the set would be altered to accommodate the lack of musicians on stage.

I think many people go to a show expecting and really hoping for a replication of an album, but I find that the most exciting performances are like this one, when as a listener you are treated to something different and unique.

My favorite tune of the night was actually a cover of the Postal Service’s "Such Great Heights." I surprised myself by liking this so much because I’d previously never given it much notice. Something about the delivery brought the lyrics to the foreground for the first time, and they were kind of good, you know, if you’re into love and relationships and stuff. Hmm. Anyway, my beliefs in his musical abilities were confirmed while watching and listening to this somewhat rare solo performance.

Only one thing detracted from the experience – the Meow Meow’s really loud drainage system. Perhaps it only affected those of us unfortunate enough to be located near its epicenter. I couldn’t help but imagine the seemingly endless line of patrons waiting to send their debris down my way. So in conclusion, I love Sam Beam, I hate loud noises while trying to enjoy his music, and nobody threw up on me.