Posts Tagged Beirut
Let’s face it, the idea of Beirut the band is outrageous. Accordions, tubas, cornets, seventeen other instruments you’ve never heard of, and NO GUITAR…all on stage at once, playing music for a crowd of kids under 30. Who can say why we love Zach Condon’s aural love letters to the places we’ll rarely visit? It’s hard to describe. The influences are wide and far reaching, carrying glimpses of German beer halls on the backs of Bulgarian serenades. And when you listen, you can easily become one of Condon’s troubadours, ready to spin like a gypsy and shake a tambourine if you only had one.
Odds are you love Beirut too. They have an amzing ability to make a building full of posturing hipster youthfuls close their eyes and imagine they’re waltzing with Matilda. The Wounded Jukebox had the recent opportunity to be one of those dreamers during their show at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band (Perrin Cloutier on accordion, Paul Collins on bass, Ben Lanz on trombone, Nick Petree on drums and Kelly Pratt on horns) is in the middle of their tour showcasing the songs off their new record, The Rip Tide, which is a giant celebratory smile to all the old familiar things from home. It cues a subtle but dynamic change in the music style for the group, demonstrating how much life has to give when you plant some roots, something Zach Condon hasn’t done much since he was 19.
Let it be known, there is absolutely nothing bad about a Beirut concert, and you should dowse your fears and see them right away. They sound fantastic, if not better live, and the sound of a triple horned, accordian appendeged, drum decked battalion blasts any sort of worry clean off ya. Every one I met was so happy, and ready to tell me about their mothers and the neat hats they were wearing, and give me advice on how to take better pictures of the bands when the red lighting was glaring and no flash was allowed.
Condon and company showed no signs of tour fatigue, stepping onto the stage, saying hello, and entering right into a bare version of “Scenic World” that sounded much like the original version off the Lon Gisland EP. Then they exploded into Zapotec’s “The Shrew”, casting light onto the drum set for the first time. And then they played “Elephant Gun”, and my night was complete. I think I could have left after that song and been quite happy. One can never have enough “Elephant Gun”, like a desert you could eat forever.
The rest of the night became an ecstatic blur of singing refrains and shining brass, where I became completely unaware of the time and how much I had to pee, and caught the feeling of the crowd around me and simple sang and swayed. Often I try to understand what the band’s experience is, looking out at a crowd of people staring back at you. In the case of that night’s show, I know they only saw smiles. What a time!
Surprisingly, Beirut visited a lot of their older catalogue during the concert, performing the underrated “Carousels” and “Postcards from Italy.” And at the end of it all, they gave the crowd a treat, playing a wonderful cover of the Hawk and a Handsaw’s “Serbian Cocek.” Catch the entire set list and pictures from the show, which included opening band Ramesh, below!
Beirut set-list at Bogart’s/Nov. 11, 2011
Postcards from Italy
A Sunday Smile
Port of Call
After the Curtain
My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille
The Gulag Orkestar
This year is over halfway over? Unbelievable. I haven’t even put away all of my winter clothes and the summer is sweating through the windows.
The whirlwind year has spit me out just in time to list out a few of my top songs of 2011. Making this list was difficult in part because when asked on the spot what songs I love so far, I blank entirely. But they came sinking back slowly and in no particular order…
The Dodos – “Black Night”
They’re at it again. The Dodos have managed to remain stripped down to primarily drums and guitar and still create music that fills a room. Meric Long’s frantic strumming and yelps burst through the heavy percussions in the opening track from No Color. This is the sound of bottled emotion escaping.
Tyler, the Creator – “Yonkers”
I’m a sucker for a strong beat and this song well exceeds that. The steady rhymes of lead rapper from Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All parallel the even keel of the beat behind the music. He rhymes “triceratops!” The video is pretty unsettling, complete with vomit and bloody noses.
Thao & Mirah – “Little Cup”
One of the most beautiful female voices out there (Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn) paired with one of the most eclectic (Thao Nguyen) forms the powerhouse Thao & Mirah. This song fronted by Mirah and supported by Thao’s soft whispers. The end carries me away every time.
Panda Bear – “Slow Motion”
Repeat offender on the TWJ staffers favorites list. And for good reason. Panda Bear’s signature layering undulates from one refrain to the next. This song meanders and in the end the repetition of “it counts” leaves an impression in your mind.
Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
This is the quintessential modern day love song. ‘Nuf said.
Fool’s Gold – “Street Clothes”
It’s good to hear again from this worldly LA band. I was privledged enough to write on this song earlier in the summer and look forward to hearing the rest of Leave No Trace when the album comes out in August.
Cee Lo Green – “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care”
This man can do no wrong. His cover of this ditty is a perfect fit to pay tribute to the ultimate crooner, Buddy Holly. Both boys pack lungs but Green adds his characteristic fun that makes it worth the listen.
Future Islands – “Before the Bridge”
I recently fell for this band and have torn through their 2010 album In Evening Air. So when the single to their next album (out in July!) surfaced, it made a stealthy play for my affection. “Do you believe in love?”
Beirut – “Santa Fe”
While a kick ass beat will have me fixated, the peppy keyboards in this song has its appeal. The daftly orchestrated band surrendered their big brass sound for a little more pop in this song.
Rubik – “Laws of Gravity”
This song will undoubtedly get me dancing through the apartment. This band from Finland created a video that captures the song’s crescendo perfectly by pairing it with video of ski jumpers from the 80’s. And that’s about all that makes sense.
On May 9th, Zach Condon and his merry band of troubadours played the first show of their tour at the NorVa, in Norfolk Virginia. Under the name of Beirut, the group is famous for spreading the tales and essences of the lands Condon has witnessed and immersed himself in. But on the new song “Santa Fe”, he relates a personal take on his New Mexico hometown. It begins with a killer Accordion intro, and a dual trumpet explosion at 2:05 that was obviously thrown in just for the ladies. Psshhsh. Pandering (…I liked it too whisper whisper). The second new song of the night was the dip and sway of “Port of Call”. Half of Beirut’s catalog seems ripe for a waltz around the ballroom dance studio; with a 1,2,3 1,2,3 hidden underneath every lyric. I took ballroom dancing lessons. Wasn’t fun. More sweating and dancing than you would think.
These sneak previews from Beirut’s third LP are just enough to whet your whistle. Expect the release late this year.
Fer yer trubles.
I saw a review that compared Dark Dark Dark to Beirut, with Regina Spektor’s weirder vocals as the lead singer. That’s a good description, except for the fact that they are much easier to listen to than the other two. Beirut and Spektor are cool, but I sometimes can’t handle more than one or two songs. Dark Dark Dark’s new EP Bright Bright Bright, isn’t like that for me. They change up their sound, using the some of the good parts of Beirut, superb string arrangements and full chamber sound, as well as a pop sensibility and varying vocal style. Looking forward to their full-length album, which should come out sometime soon.
Dark Dark Dark – Bright Bright Bright.mp3 (2010 Supply and Demand Music)
Dark Dark Dark – Trouble No More (2008 Supply and Demand Music)