“The new feelings will rise up like fake blood in crisp October/ From the cracks and the edges of the graves of our proudest moments/ Because that's not a monument it's a grave.”
Dirty Projectors' lead singer, Dave Longstreth, started his second set at the Echo Park Rec Cen on the last night of October with an elegy for the passing month. Following the solo, vocalist Angel Deradoorian joined him for a duet, and by the third tune, all six band members were on stage, some in Halloween costumes and others in quirky outfits that may or may not have been inspired by the holiday.
While the Dirty Projectors played two back-to-back shows with remarkable grace for a costumed crowd in Echo Park last night, the challenging acoustics posed by the roughly cut Rec Cen space (originally part of Jensen's Recreation Center built in the 1920s) left something to be desired. This morning's news that the Brooklyn-based band will be playing alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall in February, makes complete sense. There's no doubt that Disney Hall, one of the most august and acoustically pristine performance spaces in the city, will be more welcoming to the ethereal voices of Dirty Projector vocalists Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman, and Haley Dekle, whose harmonies interact with a seemingly mechanic precision and meet in a place that is both pleasant and disorienting, brandishing a heavy staccato with the levity of birdsong.
The Rec Cen was comfortably packed with room for concert-goers in heels to rest on the large white couches and mingle around the open fireplace sipping canned beer while the flames cast dramatic shadows against the back wall in an eerie, deep orange light.
The opening band, Little Wings, played a relatively brief set, ending with a witty freestyle by lead singer Kyle Fields (sporting a missing front tooth for Halloween) about personal hygiene and performing in Los Angeles, coaxing a hearty laugh out of the attentive crowd. Much of the audience was decked out in Halloween attire, faces painted like Tim Burton characters and some wearing large animal masks, as they danced in place and stomped their feet excitedly for an encore which included a repeat of “Remade Horizon.”
Perhaps because of the Rec Cen's midnight curfew, the band plowed through a 75-minute set with minimal on stage banter. Drummer Brian McOmber rocked the drums in a blonde wig and a hot pink belt while Coffman, Deradoorian and Dekle lined the front of the stage like poised sirens, offering up the seductive strands of their voices — a melodic memento of a crisp night in late October.