Within days, Dirty Projectors were back on the road. The Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia was their second stop. A few hours before the show, Longstreth stood outside on the sidewalk, talking to his tour manager about the impact that that night’s Phillies play-off game might have on turnout. “It could be pretty light,” he said, though he didn’t seem to quite believe it.
The turnout, in fact, was not light. The Troc was close to packed. Fans knew the words to songs and hollered for obscurities from the Longstreth oeuvre. Their set was short, less than 90 minutes, and though the band played flawlessly, they were a little bit stiff, particularly Longstreth, whose expression and posture barely changed from song to song. Wearing the same hoodie and plaid shirt he’d had on earlier in the day, he seemed reticent, as if a hint of performative gusto might counteract the seriousness of the music. The women were less inhibited; they at least ditched their hoodies in favor of elegant black outfits. And near the end of the set, when the Projectors broke into “Stillness Is the Move,” Coffman took the microphone from the stand and danced as she sang. It was a gentle step, not a full-blown boogie. But she looked like she was having a blast, payoff for all that rehearsing.
Later this month, Dirty Projectors will be back in New York for four nights of sold-out shows at Bowery Ballroom and the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Then it’s down to Brazil. By the time they come off the road and settle back in Brooklyn sometime next year, they might not recognize the scene they left behind. It’s mutating all the time. There are other bands poised to break out, like Yeasayer, which toured with MGMT and just played a show at the Guggenheim Museum. The neo-hippie thing from California, which has already turned Bushwick lofts into flowery outposts of Laurel Canyon, might yet yield a Brooklyn star. Or the new LCD Soundsystem album due out early next year could reignite interest in the DFA roster, which includes excellent young artists like Holy Ghost!, and Still Going. Or maybe it will be something out of nowhere that blows up, a kid who’s been pouring his soul into home recordings and is just working up the nerve to introduce them to the world at Bruar Falls. It could be happening right now.