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Pygmalion Day Four Pt. 2

September 20, 2009

Pygmalion Music FestivalJust like any good novel Pygmalion Music Festival drew to it’s dramatic climax Satuday night when Iron and Wine took over Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Sam Beam’s performance was without a doubt the most anticipated part of the entire festival, and he certainly lived up to the hype.

I entered the massive auditorium shortly before Beam began his set. It was incredible to see this expansive room completely filled to standing room only capacity completely silent waiting for the nondescript, bearded man with a lone guitar to perform.

It amazed me how he alone could fill the theater with his complex finger-picked guitar stylings and chillingly beautiful vocals. As he stood at the front of the stage, just behind the microphone stand, basked in the spotlights he sang out his folk songs. The sell-out crowd sat in awe, silent, until the end when the room erupted in to applause and yells of gratitude.

The best part of Beam’s performance was his humility and charisma. Throughout the set he acknowledged his own gaffs and laughed them off with crowd. At one point the singer/songwriter even asked the audience for help remembering the first lyrics to one of his songs.

Beyond his on-stage charm, Beam’s live show offered a more intimate feel of his songs and made them come alive to the audience. His vocals, which often seem like a whisper on his albums, were rich and vibrant when projected across the cavernous theater. As he sang his encore song he dropped most of the guitar out and let his vocals carry the tune; the end result was tremendous and left everyone in attendance standing, applauding and cheering for his performance.

Immediately following Beam’s magnificent performance Princeton began their set in the lobby of Krannert. I was wholly unimpressed with the band. They had a sleepy set that sounded a bit too much like a Vampire Weekend rip-off to me.

Their tourmates, Ra Ra Riot, came in to the lobby afterward and picked up everyone’s spirit.

The Syracuse, New York band sounded almost exactly like their recordings their set was so precise. Often when a band’s execution is done so well their stage presence in nil. Ra Ra Riot, however, managed to play almost perfectly and still make their songs come alive while on stage.

Their set was one of the highlights of the festival, and added a dynamic flair to the falling action at the end of the festival.

After watching all the bands at Krannert for the evening I decided to head over to the Canopy Club where a myriad of DJ’s were performing. When I arrived YACHT had just wrapped up and a Red Bull DJ was filling in the in-between time with some jams of his own. I was a bit upset to have missed YACHT completely, but since Ra Ra Riot was so entertaining, I didn’t feel too bad.

Not long after my arrival Chicago’s The Hood Internet began playing their set of mashed-up songs. The monstrous crowd in attendance went nuts for this group, and with the bevy of radio friendly hits that they smashed together it was easy to see why.

Though the music was entertaining and easy to dance to, it was still a bit strange for me to see only two guys on stage standing over their MacBooks and occasionally hitting a synth pad. To me, DJ’s just don’t fill out a stage the way that I need them to. That sense of emptiness on stage caused me to leave early and head for home before the last DJ, RJD2, hit the stage.

Though my night ended a bit early, I didn’t feel betrayed, or upset with the way it ended. Just like a good novel Pygmalion rose to the top and came down slowly and fow some kept going in to the wee hours of the morning with a persistent beat.

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