“It’s like the opera, they’re only letting late people come in between songs. It’s actually kind of cool,’ David Longstreth, the amiable leader of Brooklyn-based band Dirty Projectors, jokes between songs as a few late comers try to burrow their way into the already packed crowd at Hongdae’s V-Hall. While the mood is certainly more playful, there is something of the opera in tonight’s sense of occasion and in the hushed awe that greets the band’s flawless renditions of their distinctive back catalogue.

For the ensuing set, Dirty Projectors confidently straddle seemingly opposing musical ideas. They sound angular but warm, ramshackle but consummate, dense yet accessible. The rattles remain regulated and the jangles justified. Drawing on a range of their seven-album-deep discography, the live setting allows the art rock darlings to reveal new and previously unseen sides to an already multifaceted body of work. Longstreth’s guitar prowess and the glorious choral blasts of Amber Coffman, Haley Deckle and Olga Bell on tracks like ‘Wittenberg IV’ and the luscious closer ‘Impregnable Question’ had the highly receptive crowd enthralled throughout. While the heady cocktail of a jovial atmosphere and the exacting precision of the band’s musicianship meant the newer material, taken from their 2012 effort Swing Low Magellan, went over just as well as older favourites.

Seeing Dirty Projectors live feels somewhat as if one is being led blindfolded through some unknown landscape by an affably-voiced tour guide who knows exactly where he is taking you. Things seem to suddenly arrive from nowhere, surroundings shift imperceptibly about you, but Longstreth and co’s pitch-perfect directions are so precise and so well-timed that, in the band’s safe hands, we find we are able to run at speed and unscathed through even the most complex terrain, and the experience engenders a sense of awe.

Did you go to see Dirty Projectors? What did you think?

Dirty Projectors were brought to Seoul by , who are also bringing My Bloody Valentine on Sunday February 3rd. Check out all the upcoming alt music gigs in Seoul on our 2013 events page.

Words and photography by Mike Beech.

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