Dirtwire, a one-of-a-kind ensemble known for its eclectic, genre-bending sound, continued their "The Four Directions" tour of the Wild West with their performance at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, CA, on Friday night. Comprising Evan Fraser (Hamsa Lila/House of Hamsa) and Mark Reveley (Afrodesiac Soundsystem), they perform on various stringed instruments as well as an array of world drums and percussion instruments, all backed with an electronic flair. Their style is a fusion of folk, world, and electronica that melds traditional instruments like the banjo and jaw harp with diverse world instruments like the Bolo and Saz, and then incorporates modern electronic elements to create an intoxicating sonic landscape. The band has performed multiple times at the Joshua Tree Music Festival, collaborated with artists like Beats Antique, Balkan Bump, and Moontricks, and has performed on the stages of the Symbiosis Gathering and Lightning in a Bottle Festivals.
Dirtwire's live performances are renowned for the duo’s ability to seamlessly blend genres and styles and, along with guest musicians from a number of disciplines, transform traditional instrumentation from folk and world music into modern electronica. Their multi-instrumental improvisational mastery is showcased as they skillfully switch between these dichotomous styles, resulting in a dynamic sound and otherworldly musical experience. Their performance on this night was no different; their engaging stage presence and array of guest musicians on violin, trombone, and saxophone truly demonstrated the immersive and experimental nature of their music. Despite the often-complex arrangements, however, Dirtwire always manages to create an engaging and intimate atmosphere. This intimacy is further enhanced when the quaint 350-person venue is completely sold out, where the only room to be had in any of the viewing areas is earned by shaking your hips and moving your feet.
The night was kicked off by California-based Nok Nok, a DJ who finds a way to incorporate his classical flute into bass-driven electronic and house music. He worked in some familiar samples, including a little run at Opiuo’s “Sneakers”, looped in the flute, and dropped some heavy beats to get the crowd oiled up for the main event.
Dirtwire provided a show full of originals with some covers sprinkled in and spanned the length of the band’s catalog. The band performed some favorites from their eponymous first album, including “Rusted Railway” and “Sailing the Solar Flares”. The show also included takes on The Manic Focus/K+Lab original “Right to Left” as well as “The Stranger” and “The Whip” from the 2017 albums Blaze and Showdown, respectively. The band also fittingly played three songs from their most recent album, which the tour supports, The Four Directions: “You Got to Move”, “Behind the Tree”, and “Karabai”.
Be sure to catch Dirtwire as they wind their way through New Mexico and Colorado in the coming weeks before finishing up the month in Florida.