Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a show here in Birmingham. I used to frequent venues to see live bands in Chicago, at some points it was every night of the week. There just wasn’t enough music to explore and I enjoyed being a member of the coveted audience. I am a music enthusiast. A lover, one part in the relationship of auditory companionship. In my current stay in Birmingham I have only seen a handful of shows, most of which were symphonies.
On Tuesday, the agenda called to see Dirty Three.
As a long time admirer of Dirty Three, I haven’t seen them perform once in their twenty years of existence, until now, and it was certainly worth the wait. I met with a friend and upon entering the venue, the familiar haze of breathy condensation greeted us with the swelling odour of perspiration. A fond hello.
To describe the music of Dirty Three would be to limit them, as it would be without justice to the true genius of their music,. Nonetheless I will attempt description. The trio efforts a diverse composition that is bred with complexity but is read with simplicity. The incidental percussion and reverberating chords of the guitar perfectly compliment the plucks and melodious bowing of the violin. It is a tender journey that the audience is witness to. These are not merely songs, but rather movements for the mind’s ear.
I have only one major criticism; the selection of venue. The Glee Club does not suit this type of music. The nature of it calls for vaulted ceilings; space for the sound to roam. Instead, it felt compressed. The music had nowhere to go but outward when it yearned to be elevated. It was peculiar, but as with anything you get used to it with exposure.
Despite the architectural restrictions, the range of emotive capability in the music was not withheld. Losing yourself in this environment of arresting stimuli is easy. I had even forgotten that I was not alone, and drifted from my friends side. Only after the tickling of the percussion deadening to a conclusion does the applause usher you back into the crowded reality. It is startling, but one of the best sensations.
They played ‘Last Horse In The Sand’, a particular favourite of mine. It invokes the humbleness of a simple joy with a hint of melancholy; just as someone who lives in the moment may on occasion mourn a moment’s passing. It was sexy. Not in the form of a sleazy entanglement, but a balmy intimation of sensuality. It was love-making; sweet yet gritty. ‘The Pier’ and ‘Stellar’ are further examples played, but the whole set dripped with passion.
They finished on a jovial note with ‘The Zither Player’, that bereft the audience to desire more.
Following the four song encore, I departed from the venue swarming in the sumptuousness of recent sounds. I did not entertain one drink and yet I was intoxicated from the the engrossing beauty of the whole experience. My head and ears buzzed with effulgent satisfaction and did not hasten even when I eventually retired home and drifted to sleep.
If you have the opportunity, by all means, go see Dirty Three.