By David J. Prince
David Byrne and three members of the Roots made surprise appearances with Dirty Projectors on stage Sunday night (Nov. 22) at New York's Bowery Ballroom, capping a four-show local run by the Brooklyn-based critical darlings.
For the evening's finale, Byrne arrived on the scene to sing and play guitar on the track "Knotty Pine," a collaboration with Dirty Projectors that was released last year on the A-list indie rock benefit album "Dark Was the Night."
Earlier, Roots drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson," guitarist Kirk Douglas and bassist Owen Biddle joined Dirty Projectors for "Stillness Is the Move" and "No Intention," both from the acclaimed 2009 album "Bitte Orca."
That unconventional pairing was birthed after Dirty Projectors played the new song "Wittenberg III" in late September on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," where the Roots are the house band. Thompson was so impressed with the group that he filmed it warming up in the Roots rehearsal room and posted the video online through his Twitter account.
The sold-out gig drew attendees including the National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, who curated "Dark Was the Night" and a related concert with its participants last summer; "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg; actress Rashida Jones and adult film star Sasha Grey.
Throughout, Dirty Projectors showed why they are one of the most talked-about bands to emerge in recent years, marrying idiosyncratic guitar skronk and near-yodeled gang vocalizing to head-scratching time signature changes and high-minded compositional acumen. Dirty Projectors will close out a busy 2009 with three shows in Brazil, beginning Saturday in Goiania. February gigs at New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center (19) and Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall (27) are also on tap.