TVD Live Shots: Iron
& Wine and Squirrel Flower at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11/16

Aside from getting called a “sir” by some stuffy elder docent, tonight is proving itself to be a special treat. It’s not often that I’m headed to a concert at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Gartner Auditorium itself has an impressive organ and intricate woodworking panels throughout. Alice Coltrane is flowing out of the speakers and setting the mood.

“Being in this beautiful venue reminds me of singing in the choir growing up,” Ella Williams (better known as Squirrel Flower) confessed. I get it. It’s a stunning but stiff setting, but also one that helps to showcase Squirrel Flower’s talent. She layers and loops harmonies, singing stripped-down songs of intimacy and heartache. It’s a vocal and songwriting showcase, part one.

I haven’t seen Iron & Wine live in about 20 years, but I can tell you that his music frequented my dorm rooms throughout college and beyond. So I knew that hearing his songs live after so many years would be noteworthy. But what I didn’t recall was how funny and personable Sam Beam (a.k.a. Iron & Wine) is onstage. “Here we are,” he said at one point to hearty laughter, “just a bunch of ninjas watching some dipshit on stage.”

He began with a cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” and from there took us on a journey through his 20+ year catalog. Cue the vocal and songwriting showcase, part two. After an a capella version of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” the audience was so overcome that many gave Beam a standing ovation.

All in all, it was a night of celebration: celebration of music and togetherness, the latter we haven’t had enough of in the last couple years.



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