David Longstreth and Angel Deradoorian took the stage as a two-piece to open their 45 minute set at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion Monday evening. Deradoorian’s lilting, angelic vocals soared on a gorgeous rendition of “Two Doves” accompanied by Longstreth’s electric strum. This song and a good portion of the set were taken from the recently released Bitte Orca.
For me less is more when it comes to David Longstreth’s vocals. Although he is the chief singer and brains behind the operation, his vocal talents are an acquired taste. On “Useful Chamber” Longstreth sang over Deradoorian’s keyboards in his Antony Hegarty-esque wail until the song erupted in the middle with explosive drumming and the repeated phrase ‘Bitte Orca, Orca Bitte, Bitte Orca, Orca Bitte,’ but it’s the female vocals that zoom in to keep the band grounded.
Showing the depth of the group’s talents was “Stillness Is The Move,” a track sung by guitarist Amber Coffman. The song is a real departure with vocal flourishes eerily similar to Mariah Carey at times and that wouldn’t sound out of place on a pop or R&B playlist. “Stillness…” is a gem with its ‘After all that we’ve been through/I know we’ll make it’ refrain and Coffman commanding the stage, microphone in hand, posing like a female MC. It is easily one of the top tunes of the year.
Ending the show was the infectious “Knotty Pine,” originally recorded with David Byrne for the Dark Was The Night compilation. Monday’s performance left me hungry for more and curious to see what direction The Dirty Projectors sound may go in the future.