Friday, August 12, 2011

Beirut at The Commodore Ballroom August 10, 2011

Beirut transported the audience through space and time for the two consecutive nights at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom. We traveled through French cafes to the Balkan hills out onto the streets of rural Mexico and back again. The crowd was genuinely ecstatic for the back to back sold out shows. Much like singer Zach Condon and company the bulk of the fans were so cool they were post-hipster. The stage show consisted mainly of the band standing in a row across the stage, horns in hand with leader Condon at the centre. There was little stage banter just song after song of beautifully arranged melodies and gorgeous baritone voices.

If it's pyrotechnics and costume changes you want then then you can stop reading here for I prefer to preach to the converted. For those of you who can appreciate a good accordion vamp this band is not to be missed. With most songs coming in somewhere around the three minute marker you can understand how the band moved through a lot of material during their roughly hour long set. Blasting through "Elephant Gun" "Nantes" "Postcards From Italy" "Mimizan" "Scenic World" (involving some serious accordion shredding) "The Shrew" and "East Harlem" (to name a few) the catalogue was well represented. The whole band were constantly putting down one instrument to pick up another with trumpets, french horn, trombone, tuba, ukulele, keys, and of course bass and drums (the drummer wears an amazing shit-eating grin for the entire show) all featured.

After a short break the band returned to the stage for an encore. I wasn't sure what they had left, much to my surprise and elation Condon sat at the keys and played "Goshen" from the latest album The Rip Tide. That was a real highlight... the girl next to me even broke into tears during the performance. When you are as talented as these cats, to simply play the songs is more than enough to keep the crowd completely enthralled. The moral of the story is "see this band live!"
Zach Condon

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