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Langhorne Slim & The War Eagles – Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO – February 26, 2007


What started as a potential production war between touring band Langhorne Slim and a sound engineer in a dirty venue on a Monday night, in the lionishly mediocre city of Denver, turned into the best surprise show I’ve caught so far in 2007.

During the first song of the Langhorne Slim set, the guitar/drum/stand-up bass trio faced off against the house engineer, making such outlandish requests as more vocals in the drum monitor—much to the displeasure of the lone engineer. In these situations, a band has two choices: let the sound guy win by standing your ground and chancing that your set will sound terrible, or let the sound guy win by turning on the charm and adding “If possible” to every request you make of him. Langhorne Slim opted for the latter, probably knowing that the sound guy always wins either way.

With or without vocals in their monitors, working cables or mics to play into, I’m sure that I would have fallen in love with this band either way.


Fronted by their slender namesake—a quiet man dressed as if he walked through Rivers Cuomo’s closet, then a pimp’s closet for good measure—Langhorne Slim played sweet, crisply structured tunes bordering on the pop-folk sounds of ’60s and ’70s singer-songwriters. Even Langhorne’s voice retained the ironically soothing nasal quality of Cat Stevens and Donovan. His cry rang as potent as a bell when he sang, “So long my only love/In which direction have you gone?/By the time the sun’s gone down tonight/You’ll know that you’re the only one.” This lyrical simplicity was marked by another simple formula: cool + predictable = exactly what you want to hear.

Just two songs in, I was comforted by the nostalgia that I had heard this all before, but not as poignantly or clearly expressed as when the words tumbled out of Slim’s mouth over driving layers of drum and bass. Unpredictably, Langhorne Slim’s charming vocals and poppy guitar were backed by the frenetic metronome of one-hit heavy drummer Malachi DeLorenzo (who makes brushes slam bigger than most drummers’ sticks) and the rich stand-up bass of Paul DeFiglia, for whom an electric bass is no match in size or sound. No wonder the percussion section of Langhorne Slim calls itself The War Eagles.

Sound guy, nothing—Langhorne Slim & The War Eagles can back up and throw down in the front lines, winning any music war they’re called to fight, and drafting plenty of fans along the way.


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