Stuck in a useful chamber.

Last night, P&C reviewers Esteban Miguel and humble blogger–along with good friend MacD–got out to check the Dirty Projector’s gig in The Paradise. This morning, all three of us are still recovering as if we were 13 years old and hitting the empty Reddi-Whip bottle for some Saturday night risky fun…or just a few chances to Whip it! good.

From the first bars of “No Intention”, it was clear the band did in fact have intentions–or at least one intention: to turn the Paradise into one giant helium tank of which every gig goer vintage AA glasses and ratty cardys included sucked out the element with all vigor and force, only to be told…hold it in, hold it in.

I think ere humble blogger is still holding it in.

In fact, as MacD declared last night, the helium riches throughout the globe are depleted; and after last night’s gig, we most likely have the Dirty Projectors to thank for aiding this whole dire situation.

Who will fill the balloons, I ask? Bear with me and let me expound.

The Brooklyn-based band, known for its at times lo-fi, at times hi-fi, experimental brand of indie pop music and quirky vocal manipulations, has this rare ability during a live gig to close in on the audience with quiet ease, surrounding the entire venue with a tight wail that feels as if it can’t be punctured.

As the band worked through tracks from their 2009 record Bitte Orca, frontman and founding member David Longstreth strangled his way through vocals (probably the result of the sweaty turtle neck type cowl sweater he sported around thy neck) while his female counterparts–Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, and Haley Dekle–used their voices as instruments. The girls not only harmonized but created a serious set of inspired yealps, oohs, ahhs, hushes and vocal struts in a time and repetition amid a backdrop of seemingly warbled and out of place percussives that would make any computer manipulation shiver and bow in awe.

As I begged “Bitte! Bitte!” for the helium tank to set us free for a whippit release and a squeaky declaration of love a la the sounds of a loquacious orca on tunes “Useful Chamber”, “Temecula Sunrise” and “The Bride”, their was finally a moment of respite from the pressure; with just Longstreth, an acoustic guitar, and Angel Deradoorian, the tension and gas was on slow release for the quiet, acoustic “Two Doves”, which gave Angel a chance to step away from guitar and mixing board to great an ethereal, transcendent few minutes of pure vocal gold.

Not minutes later, I was sucking in again. This time, the whippet finally released as bassist Nat Baldwin and drummer Brian Mcomber worked a deep, funkier bassline that got the crowd popped and locked in groove…finally. On standout tune “Stillness is the Move”, Baldwin worked his fingers like mad as Amber Coffman dropped her guitar, grabbed mic off stand, and shimmied around front and center.

And then she let it out. Working those vocal chops, she absolutely stunned, proving that of all the ladies who lend voice to The Dirty Projectors, she is certainly the soulful anchor. Feeling that groove, she moved, shaked and straight out belted, all the while seeming effortless as her voice broke through that tightened tank and popped the entire crowd of hipsters out of their confinement.

This band sure has a future in a great damn funky slapping the bass kind of thing if they are willing to embrace (must I “slyly” slip this into every gig’s review?).

Dancing, shaking, and the like ended the set on a groove-driven high (including “Knotty Pine” and a crowd appreciation “Happy Birthday” tune for Baldwin’s, cough Kevin McHale cough, grandmum’s 78th years young birthday, who was in the crowd at The Dise last night), a well-played move by a band that had us feel as if we were pent up all night long and just waiting to break out.

File Under: This band sure has had its “break out”. Golf claps, DP.

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