Dirty Projectors performed at Neumos on Wednesday, November 4.
Dirty Projectors lit up Neumos last night with their ecstatic harmonies and coruscating arrangements. Save for a couple of unfortunate, bloated silences in between songs that left black holes longing to be filled, the Brooklyn-based sextet delivered a nuanced and textured performance, sprinkling their angel dust across a sea of arty hipsters, most of whom were dressed like the band.
Lanky lead singer David Longstreth was all preying mantis motion--he really is a stick figure come alive--plucking and picking at his electric and acoustic while he poked and plodded around the stage. Bassist Nat Baldwin wore a lumberjack 'stache and a shit-eating grin for most of the show, a marked contrast to vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian, who were content to let their gorgeous voices do the smiling.
I didn't realize it, but the band's been touring around with a third female vocalist, Haley Dekle. If you would've asked me if I thought the Dirty Projectors needed her (and you would've asked me--you know it) before the show, I would've said nope--sounds like overkill. But Dekle proved a sweet touch, especially when she and Coffman traded their avian calls back and forth. It was freakishly good and damn sexy.
While Longstreth may be the brains of the outfit--he will forever be the mad composer wowing his Yale dorm roommates in my mind--Coffman's rendition of "Stillness Is the Move" off Bitte Orca, the album that received the most live love, was the stand-out. (For the record: Longstreth had a couple of first-class solos, but whatever ego may lurk inside, he didn't show, as he gave the other players their time to shine.) The girl can wail.
Indeed, throughout the night, I kept thinking how much the Dirty Projectors are indebted to R&B. And then it was time to go.