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Iron and Wine: Grog Shop 10/23/2003

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It was bitter, bitter cold in Cleveland yesterday. I can only imagine if I was a boy from Florida, what it would have felt like. Sam Beam from Miami, who is also known under the band monicker Iron and Wine played the Grog Shop in Cleveland last night as an opener for Broadcast.

Last night’s show was almost an anti-concert. No crazy lights. No gritting of teeth. No ridiculous WOOO’s from the audience. Hell there was almost no talking while Sam, his sister Sarah and a good friend played through a good portion of the Iron and Wine songs. Most of the set, Sam and Sarah spent with their eyes closed harmonizing in something that couldn’t have been much above a whisper. All the while, his friend was picking up the secondary parts to the songs with slide guitar, banjo and acoustic guitar.

The audience was completely tuned in to the music for the whole set, which included Rooster Moans, Upward Over the Mountain and Lion’s Mane. The highlights for me personally were Bird Stealing Bread, The Sea and the Rhythm and the closing song, Muddy Hymnal. When Sam announced that they only had one song left, the crowd collectively moaned and someone offered to buy the trio their beer for the rest of the night if they would play four more. As it turned out they had two songs left and that is how they left us.

The only other communication during the show was occasionally in-between songs, when Sam would look into the audience. It was almost like he couldn’t believe all these people were here to see him and were enjoying what he was doing. The audience responded with appreciation. There was a lot of love in the room last night, and while that sounds really trite, it was different. There wasn’t a sense of idolatry because the attitude on stage wouldn’t allow it. It was more of a mutual admiration projected to and from the stage.

The audience could see it every now and then as something would overcome Sam as he appeared to want to hide behind his overgrown beard. Then a bashful and incredibly gracious smile would come over his face as he looked around to make eye contact and thank the audience that had listened silently to his fragile melodies.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Craig, I’m putting this up on Cleveland.com