Sometimes, all it takes to figure out how you really feel about a band you are casually familiar with is to see them live. I have been fortunate enough, on several occasions, to have been persuaded in favor of  several groups as a result of seeing them live. For example, I had been introduced to the Old 97’s a mere two months before I saw them live last December. However, their live show introduced me to many of their songs and the sheer depth of their catalog. As a result, I have become a huge Old 97’s fan, and continuously check their website to see when they are playing next.

It is safe to say that I have had the same sort of experience with Dirty Projectors when they played at Antone’s.  I had heard nothing but good thing things about the Brooklyn band for months from several of my friends. I had taken a couple listens to their newest album “Bitte Orca” as well as several of their older albums, and was for the most part very impressed, but I was still a bit skeptical. Their music is full of dense guitar work and numerous tempo changes, yet still managed to be very catchy and accessible. I was curious to see how that material would pan out live. I was not disappointed.

After being told to put my camera back in my car by the Antone’s staff (note to self: DSLR’s are not allowed at La Zona Rosa or Antone’s), I made my way amongst the sold out crowd and was able to catch the last half of the opening act Givers’ set. From what I heard, the Lafayette, Louisiana group seemed to be having a good time on stage, and played a lovely set of  upbeat tunes that easily conjure up comparisons to Vampire Weekend. They made their excitement to be opening for Dirty Projectors known, and it was shown in the way they performed.

When Dirty Projectors finally took the stage, the show goers were packed together like a bunch of sardines. When front man Dave Longstreth and company took the stage, there were cheers to be heard from long time fans and the newly converted alike.

For the next hour and a half, the band played a set with very little audience interaction, but with enough skill and finesse to compensate. They played the majority of  the nine tracks from “Bitte Orca”, as well as several cuts from their first few albums. It was obvious that the band put a lot of care into their live shows, as there was nary a note out of pitch or a missing beat. The guitar parts were played with great proficiency, and the rhythm section acted as the driving force for every song in the set. Every time shift was played without a hitch and without disrupting the groove. There was no doubt that the band sounded great.

While the songs sang by Longstreth, including “No Intention,” “Temecula,” and the title track from 2007’s “Rise Above” were great in their own right, Dirty Projectors secret weapon lies in their their three women members. Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle each have incredible voices, and when they played off each other and harmonized, specifically on the female only “Stillness is the Move,” it made for several awe inspiring moments. In a show full of high points, seeing such an immense amount of vocal talent was truly the icing on the cake.

At the end of the show, after a two song encore, the band left as quickly as they had come on stage. This didn’t damper the audience’s spirit at all. They had gotten what they had come for. Dirty Projectors played a great show, and successfully quashed the few doubts I had had before the show. They are a band that deserve to be taken seriously, and one that I look forward to seeing again.

(Note: As a result of the Camera Policy at Antone’s, I was unable to take pictures at the show. The above photo is credited to Domino Records)