Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Dirty Projectors play to packed Pearl Street

Sabrina Amiri/Collegian

The Dirty Projectors played a fantastic set to a packed crowd at the Pearl Street Nightclub last Monday night, capping off the long weekend with style and the type of energy more common of a Saturday night.

Opening act Delicate Steve set the tone for the evening and helped get the night moving. A great complement to the layered sound of the Dirty Projectors, Delicate Steve’s performance kicked off with the wailing of frontman Steve Marion’s guitar, a guiding sound throughout the set. After the second song, the previously small crowd quickly doubled in size.

Few lyrics punctuated the infectiously groove of the group’s instrumentals, and the Ratatat like riffs at the beginning of “Afria Talks To You” got everyone dancing. For a relatively young band, Delicate Steve had a tight sound and real presence on the stage. Though the band received resounding applause, the air was heavy with anticipation for the main event.

Before the band members even took the stage, people were already cheering and calling out the Dirty Projectors’ name. Sparing no time, besides to see how Northampton was feeling, the title track of the album “Swing Lo Magellan” gracefully rang out from the stage and the show commenced. Playing mostly songs from its most recent album, as well as a few hits from “Bitte Orca,” the Dirty Projectors transitioned smoothly from one crowd favorite to the next.

Complicated elements of percussion, both from a drum set and a MIDI controller, translated wonderfully on stage. Songs like “About to Die” and “Offspring are Blank” effortlessly melded electronic and acoustic percussion. Deciding to play an electric instead of an acoustic set turned up the energy a notch, and added to the overall set.

Just as a wailing guitar centered Delicate Steve’s set, the female vocal harmonies between band members Amber Coffman, Olga Bell and Haley Dekle functioned as the mesmerizing focal point of the Dirty Projectors’ performance. They never missed a note, whether belting out a crescendo or echoing the tonality of a song.

The atmosphere of the show shifted during the introduction of “Gun Has No Trigger.” Lead singer and guitarist David Longstreth talked about how sometimes a song was better when stripped down – in this case to vocals, guitars and drums. The natural bravado of his voice rang out over a powerful but simple drumbeat accompanied by spare guitar flourishes.

The closing song drove the crowd to its peak. At one point, cymbals crashed, guitars cried out and voices pushed themselves not to be drowned out. The last song, “Useful Chamber,” mirrored the overall vibe of the show, staring off slow, punctuated with a timely break, and ending with a chorus shouting “Bitte Orca! Bitte! Bitte!” As the members of the group bowed and left the stage, what had seemed would go on forever had finally ended. However, there was still an encore in store.

Greeted with cheers on their return on stage, the band members looked truly happy to be playing to such an enamored crowd. Longstreth playfully started off the hit “Dance For You” with a couple of wrong notes and a sly smile before sliding into the familiar groove.

Not to leave after just one song, the irresistibly groovy keyboard intro to “Stillness Is The Move” had the whole crowd shouting for joy. Coffman highlighted her vocal range, going off at the song’s climax, making the tune a truly special ending to a wonderful performance.

Ryan Ford can be reached at [email protected].


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *