Dirty Projectors perform acrobatics at the Cedar

Categories: Concert Review

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Photos by Jon Behm, click here for slideshow.

When the Dirty Projectors walked on stage last night at the Cedar, they launched straight into their first song, "Cannibal Resource."  As David Longstreth gently strummed his electric guitar, the audience immediately recognized the chords and let out a cheer.  It was a full house, the show having sold out well in advance, and for the duration of the set the room was electric from the energy of the Brooklyn sextet's musical acrobatics.

To say that the Dirty Projectors' music was virtuosic would be something of an understatement.  Longstreth's songwriting has long been complex and often an acquired taste, but with last June's Bitte Orca his compositions grew in both maturity and accessibility.  Last night, this translated to a breathtaking group dynamic as the band executed its meticulously arranged songs to perfection, the music's many layers coming together with effortless spontaneity.

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After the opening song and a cover of Black Flag's "Rise Above," "Temecula Sunrise" helped set the tone as the band fully hit its stride.  Featuring a spritely melody built around Longstreth's crackling guitar work, "Temecula" mixed an array of genres, with traces of Afropop, Caribbean, and Tropicalia all blended together seamlessly.  Bobbing his head and prowling the stage with raptor-like movements, Longstreth's pinched harmonic shards cascaded over fragmented chords.

His shape-shifting warble of a voice was accompanied by Angel Deradoorian and Amber Coffman's mesmorizing harmonies, which sounded like autotune on a backward tape loop.  Their vocals brought the music fully to life, adding a delicate layer to the music's abrasive core.  Deradoorian would later take center stage with her aching "Two Doves," a love song of lyrical abstractions that was both forlorn and irresistibly beautiful.

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