KEXP Suggests: Dirty Projectors and Wye Oak at Showbox at the Market on 7/23

photo by Lauren Slusher

Some bands are well known for their improvisation-heavy live performances, but it’s unlikely that Dirty Projectors will ever be one of those bands. Bandleader Dave Longstreth has made a name for himself as a notoriously rigid band leader, but while his records are expertly and meticulously crafted, his focus truly pays off during the band’s live performances. Not only do they execute pitch-perfect replications of the recorded versions of Longstreth’s complex songs, the intensity of their precision results in the songs being more visceral and immediate. Much like the late, great James Brown, Longstreth demands nothing short of perfection from his players, but he often ends up outshining them. Although the ironclad rhythm section of drummer Michael Johnson and bassist Nat Baldwin (whose slithery grooves are their live performance’s secret weapon) is a well-oiled machine, and the harmonies of the impeccable vocal trio of Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle and newcomer Olga Bell resonate with a intertwining grace, it’s always Longstreth’s vocal gymnastics and meticulous guitar work that pushes his bandmates to reach their peak performances. It should also be mentioned that in addition to their incredible musicianship, the band is also armed with a set of songs off two of the most critically acclaimed albums of the past few years. Muscular and vibrant, this is going to be a show where you’ll want to leave the tape recorder at home and focus on absorbing every aspect of the band’s deathly precise performance.

It all goes down at the Showbox at the Market on Monday, July 23rd. Doors will open at 8 and the DPs will go on after Wye Oak’s opening set. You can get tickets at the Showbox box office or online here. Get a taste of the show by watching a video of the band performing Swing Lo Magellan‘s opening track “Offspring Are Blank” earlier this month below.

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