Iron & Wine at Sentrum Scene

Touring Europe in support of his acclaimed new album “Beast Epic”, Samuel “Sam” Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, entered the mellow lights of the Sentrum Scene on January 19th.

Text: Mia Ågren | Photo: Sadan Ekdemir

After starting by saluting the audience with an endearing “Hei hei Norway” and “takk” to the Swedish support band “Pale Honey”, the band members strolled to their positions, smartly dressed in black. The American singer-songwriter’s blond full bearded looks did not get lost in the crowd, as could have been feared in this Nordic center of the Hipster Hillbilly.

The supporting band consisted of Eliza Jones on keys/organ, Elizabeth Goodfellow on drums/percussion, Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello and Sebastian Steinberg on bass. With a relaxed charismatic guise and a twinkle in the eye that matched the colorful clouds decorating the air above him, Sam and the band kept the audience entertained throughout the acoustic odyssey.

In with the new

The first song, The Trapeze Swinger, from the 2009 album «Around the Well», started out the concert with its melodic vocals and harmonious bells. The more groovy Wolves from the album «The Shepard’s Dog» (2007) followed, but it was the third song Thomas Country Law from the new album that got the audience going. Sam pointed out that it was about growing up in a small town while both hating and loving it, adding that this was “something that you perhaps know about?”, making the audience giggling in recognition and clapping in response.

What made this concert really stand out was how melodic and funny it was

The amusement continued as the experimental intro of the new song Last Night came on. After an hour of playing, the band left the stage for Sam who took a sip from his glass of red wine, and smoothly began a set of three solo songs. After the last tunes of God Made The Automobile, he started tuning his guitar while playfully remarking that the audience was “quiet and fun”. He followed this with a “come with me to the US – you’ve been invited”, making the audience laugh out loud (again) and I could only assume it was a Trump reference.

Some of the highlights of the many songs played were Killers Let Go and Pagan Angle with the singers’ soft vocals filling the atmosphere. When the contrabass fell over, Sam whispered “safety first” as the staff came to put it back into its place, and starting to sing again in a way which was typical for him – it was hard to know where his soft laughter stopped and the whispering and melodic singing began.

Texture and depth

What made this concert really stand out was how melodic and funny it was, with a high level of acoustic quality and creativity where experimental sounds and soft vocal parts gave the composition both texture and depth. After singing 18 songs in a row in this musical narrative, the audience was stomping their feet and applauding until the band re-entered the stage for encore in a manner more equal before – the two women had joined the men with beards.

If it was anything that could have improved the experience, it would be a more lively response from the audience. Sam pointed out several times how quiet the audience was, more likely to whisper to each other than burst out in spontaneous applauses. It is impressive how he managed to sing almost 20 songs in a row, without a single break, sipping only from one glass of wine and still singing with a voice so soothing and clear.

Iron & Wine at Sentrum Scene: 8/10

 


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