Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Belle and Sebastian Show: A-Ok
(We'd like to thank Nisan Perera for writing this tasty review)

It’s official: everyone’s favorite indie pop act puts on quite the special live performance. One could even be inclined to call it “precious;" and if you happen to be of the vein of people that would call it that, go ahead, because this is the one time I won’t hold it against you.

There is simply nothing that wasn’t precious about lead singer Stuart Murdoch’s stage bounding gumby-like dancing, chatty banter with lead guitarist Stevie Jackson, and declaration that instead of partying the night before he had stayed up late reading the “Rock Star Handbook” to figure out what to do if someone threw their “knickers” on stage.

But in between all of the side-show antics lay something else that was astounding to be in witness of: the pure and refined musical choreography between seven people who played as if they were all working together to pull the bow of a cello hitting middle C. As they tore through a set that spanned even the most obscure of their ten year catalog of music, it felt strange to have to remind myself that this wasn’t actually 1958 and I wasn’t in Detroit watching an R&B group; their vocal harmonies seemed so pristinely crafted that I was sure there was no other explanation for it.

One aspect of the night that definitely should not go without mentioning was the blistering set by The New Pornographers. Oh man. There was literally a wall. And this wall was made out of sound. But what made this wall of sound especially amazing was that it was composed of three very distinct voices: Carl Newman of A.C Newman, Dan Bejar of Destroyer, and of course, the wonderful Neko Case (Get her new album even if you don’t like it! I swear it’ll grow on you).

I regularly pinch myself when I wake up in the morning and realize that we live in a world where those three not only make wonderfully artistic solo albums, but also have the ability to make music together without even the hint that they’re stepping on each other's toes or egos. What a world we live in…

photos by: Larry Kao

A heads up: Belle and Sebastian will be playing at the Hollywood Bowl on July 8th. And while it is a minus to see a band you have a personal connection to in a colossal arena, they have added a tasty little treat for incentive: they will be backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. So yeah, that’s a little cool.