Monday, October 23, 2006

Beirut Melts Away My Jaded Soul

How did I get to this point? How could an event that once inspired my greatest joys and mental discoveries, become a flat and jaded experience? I'm not sure how it happened, but upon coming to this realization, I quickly changed my philosophy on live music. Quantity does not equal quality. Living in LA offers a steady stream of musical acts, but gluttony is not the answer. Choose your tickets wisely - kick Badly Drawn Boy to the curb, and hold onto Beirut with all your might. However, I am not here to discuss the sins of Badly Drawn Boy, but instead to preach the gospel of Beirut.

As Zach Condon swooned the audience with the blissful trumpet melody of "The Gulag Orkestar," the epiphany I mentioned above came into existence. With a breath of relief, I knew my love for live music was intact. From the rafters of the Troubadour, my thoughts clung to every note emitted from the stage, as my head swayed to the Eastern rhythm - a snake captivated by his charmer's pungi (thanks Wikipedia).

As a live act, Beirut notoriously bombed their first sold out gig in New York, but the cause was purely lack of preparation. On stage the band moved together as one, creating a full, romantic sound. Zach admitted that their transition between songs falls apart about five songs in, and true to form, it did. Luckily the LA crowd was strangely reserved, and keep most witless banter to themselves. A miracle I know.

Then their was "Elephant Gun." For some reason I was the only person to cheer when he announced this song. Has no one else had the good fortune of hearing this masterpiece? If this is the case, bypass the rest of this post and find the mp3 below.

The production on "Elephant Gun" is a treat for any Beirut fan. The opening ukulele progression brings me to the open field of Gulag Okestar. A slight breeze dances through the wheat shoots, as a voice addresses me. "If I was young, I'd flee this town, I buried my dreams underground. As did I, we drink to die..." As a small bird flies overhead, the familiar voice is carried with it. Zach's once hushed vocal production, has evolved into a crisp recording that melts my heart both on record and live. With "Elephant Gun," Zach adds a new dimension to his songwriting, without abandoning Beirut's base sound.

Not to be overlooked, the great Jeremy Barnes (of Neutral Milk Hotel) opened the evening with A Hawk And A Hacksaw. The Content has mentioned Jeremy's music in the past, and his live performance lived up to all expectations. A one man band of sorts, AHAAH features Barnes playing accordion, bells and drums all simultaneously (with the help of drum sticks taped to his legs and head), while Heather Trost accompanies him on violin. We were lucky enough to sit down with Jeremy and discuss life abroad, and the chances of a NMH reunion. Look for that feature to appear in the near future.


Two encores later, my evening with Beirut finally faded into memory. As you might have gathered by this point, the night was amazing. My advice is that when Beirut comes to your city - be there. Look for the release of Beirut's new EP, Lon Gisland, to be released in the next few weeks.

[mp3] Beirut - Elephant Gun

All photos by the one and only Braedon.

8 Comments:

Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Really really nice review. I was there and had basically the same thoughts as you. What a night. That kid is so damned good. I actually wrote about it too and mentioned "Elephant Gun" as one of the night's biggest highlight. ill be honest until hearing that single a few weeks ago I'd wondered if Gulag Orkestrar was a fluke. After seeing that show and hearing that song, i'm convinced the kid is the realthing.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Arpit Mehta said...

Haha - "the sins of Badly Drawn Boy"... I'm bummed I missed the concert. Was in Miami... oh well, will have to catch em next time.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey- wonderful review! i felt quite the same. i was really looking forward to the show, but it was millions of times better than anything i ever expected. the only reason i didn't cheer when he announced "elephant gun" was because until that point in knew it only as "zebra safari" and "jersey shore". i absoloutely love the song.

actually, i'm the one in the striped shirt in the final "mosh-type" pic. i think i'm taking his picture, ironically.

anyway, thanks for the review and the pics.

julia

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exquisite stuff. More via email.

XOXO

Rufus & Maude

5:13 PM  
Blogger BWH999 said...

Thanks for the nice comments. I'm glad other people had an equally great time!

Come back soon for our interview with Jeremy Barnes (aka A Hawk and a Hacksaw)

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i forgot to put this in my last post, but:

do you have any other tracks from the new EP you might be willing to email me? of course i plan on buying it (both vinyl and cd) but as i am absolutely in love with "elephant gun", i need more!

thanks,
julia

(jimrocksmyworld@yahoo.com)

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I caught Beirut is SF on the 20th and recorded some video bootlegs - you can check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E2E40A631DE8F850

I recorded 2 or 3 new songs (I think he said one was a cover) and Brandensberg, Elephant Gun, Postcards From Italy, and a few others.

5:37 PM  
Blogger raukai said...

I'm brazilian, and I really like Beirut, do you know where I can fing it's lyrics? i can't find anywhere =/

9:08 PM  

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