Iron & Wine // Sound Academy // 28.09.13
On Saturday, September 28th, 2013 I finally got to cross something off my bucketlist: I saw Iron & Wine in concert. Although I have an extensive list of bands that I love, the bucketlist is exclusive and limited to under 10 ‘must-see’ bands. With Iron & Wine being the LAST off this list, it’s needless to the anticipation was high.
I have to admit I was surprised to find out Iron & Wine would be playing Toronto’s Sound Academy. Expecting they’d play a seated venue that might better cater to their folky, melodic sound, I was interested in seeing how an intimate standing venue would play out. Let’s just say I was not disappointed.
With the doors set to open at eight, the lineup outside the venue stretched to the end of the street. Once having been let inside, the crowd sprawled as people made their way to the bar and sought friends. Waiting nearly an hour, Widowspeak, the opening act, came on at 9pm. Lulling the crowd with her lovely, silky voice, Molly Hamilton gathered the attention of the excited group. A great precursor and crowd pleaser, Widowspeak’s music filled Sound Academy with airy, dreamy tunes until around 9:30.
Just before 10pm, Iron & Wine hit the stage. Equipped with 3 female backup singers, a full band, and 3 swinging, jazzy men in suits on horns, the show began. Samuel Beam was center stage, and instantly warmed the crowed. Playing a good amount of songs off the new album Ghost on Ghost, it was then I understood why an intimate, standing venue was chosen: there would be dancing! Mixing in jazzified classics such as Jezebel kept the show upbeat, while slower songs and favorites like Naked as we Came captivated.
The show was not only perfect for dancing, swaying, singing and relaxing, but was also very interactive. Samuel Beam frequently interacted with the crowed, taking suggestions for songs to play, and thanking the audience for their attendance. It was truly heartwarming, and made me love the band more than I already did (and they were in my top ten to begin with, so that says a lot!).
After finishing around 11:45pm, the crowed urged for an encore. Samuel Beam stepped out alone, and concluded the show with one of my personal favourites: Lion’s Mane. I was overjoyed, and left the show just after midnight feeling fantastic.
If you’ve never heard Iron & Wine and are seeking some new folk or Jazz to add to your repertoire, then I’d suggest giving them a listen.