Iron & Wine put on a surprising set at Newport Folk Festival yesterday. It was amazing to see Sam Beam so close up on stage. Sam had 5 guys behind him including a saxophone-ist that altogether culminated into perhaps the loudest set of the day at the Quad stage (previous acts that day: Deer Tick, Johnny Corndawg, Robbert Ellis).
When I think Iron & Wine I mainly think of a quiet, acoustic set with Sam singing quietly. This was definitely the opposite. The band rocked out and even when playing songs off of old albums that typically just feature Sam and his guitar, the whole band played along, transforming once strictly acoustic tracks into full-band material. It was a pleasant surprise.
Sam was glowing- he continued to ask the crowd how we were and what we had been up to since he was at the festival last, explaining how grateful he was to be back. Sam has a knack at making you wish you could sit down and talk about the world together, while only using the most beautiful words in the English language to speak poetically to each other.