Apples and oranges

Some stuff we forgot to post last week: for instance, did you know Fiona Apple was conceived in Boston? Not, not as a marketing gimmick, like conceived as in her parents did it here and stuff. Other than that, it was a rather stern Apple in a long, loosely fitted, flowing black dress who kept her mouth shut between songs and, as the old adage goes, let her music do the talking. Her voice has deepened since her last tour, and she’s taken on a skillful backing band — including a jazz-grip drummer, two keyboardists, and a bassist — who can handle the subtleties of Extraordinary Machine’s more jazzy arrangements without overplaying the simpler, rockist tunes from Tidal, including an unapologetic “Criminal.” “Here’s a song about the day I found out about the other woman; I’d like to thank her very much” Apple remarked cryptically as an intro to “Oh Well.”

[photos by Tia]

Same night, across town, the Iron and Wine/Calexico show was super good. Scribbled some notes during Calexico that didn't really make any sense, stuff like "tex-mex reggaeton?" and "Salvador Duran is making all the college girls damp." We don't have Salvador photos, unfortunately, because security refused to include his set under the first-three-songs rule. Rrrrgh. Tia did manage to sneak up to snap some superband shots. Sam Beam was kinda hit and miss, as he always is with a band -- this is a guy who makes James Taylor sound masculine. Some people just shouldn't play power chords. Once the full Calexico came on behind him, everything clicked. But there were a few great moments before that even, all of them quiet. A whispered "Cinder and Smoke," with his hard consonants crackling on the back of his tongue like clean wood in the fire, or a fresh twig underfoot. The silence after "Jezebel," which Mr. Beam broke by marvelling, "Wow, you guys are well behaved." Pause, gets a laugh. "Is it always this cold up here? Shit!"

"Southern Anthem" was pretty awesome, too, like Ida after a bottle of Southern Comfort, and then "The Trapeze Swinger," with that verse: "I heard from someone you're still pretty, and then they went on to say/That the pearly gates had some eloquent graffiti/Like 'We'll meet again' and 'Fuck the Man'/and 'Tell my mother not to worry'." There were, to our right, a wine-drunk girl and her boyfriend, teeth to teeth in mid-kiss, and she giggled and told him, "He sings some dirty things so sweetly." Sam Beam: your epitaph hath been spoken.
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