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February 5, 2009

Beirut - MHOW 02.04.09

Thanks to an intimate night of a scaled-down Beirut, I’ve had “Postcards from Italy” stuck in my head all day. While I’ve had Beirut on rotation since Gulag Orkestar, I didn’t fall hard for this band until Zach cancelled their European tour and called for a hiatus last April. It’s true, I took Beirut’s existence for granted until they were temporarily absent from the scene. And, ever since I missed them at their MHOW show last May, I’ve been kicking myself for making poor life decisions.

Over the last few months of Beirut’s hiatus, I’ve found myself going back and listening to a significant amount of their music. You would think this would be a fairly normal action for any music lover, but that’s not necessarily the case with me. Most of my time is dedicated to listening to new music (or music that is new to me), and I’m constantly seeking my next “obsession.” Rarely do I spend an exorbitant amount of time on albums that are collecting virtual dust in my iTunes library. But, as confirmed with my Last.fm, Beirut falls into my top five most listened artists in the last 12 months. Not only have I been giving them heavy play, Beirut has become sort of a musical motivator/inspiration to me. Beirut is the reason why I picked up a ukulele. More importantly, they have helped me rediscover my love of piano performance, something I’d lost many years ago. So, it’s safe to say that I was ecstatic to finally go to a Beirut show, especially since I had never seen them live before.

Beirut kicked it off with the lyrically appropriate “Nantes,” a favorite off The Flying Club Cup. While I am not normally a fan of loud audience sing-alongs, it was almost appropriate for this song since it really had been too long since Beirut had an officially announced Brooklyn show. After the song ended, a guy from the audience yelled out to Zach, asking him to sign the ukulele that he had lugged to the show. Of course, Zach obliged (Note to self: Bring uke to next Beirut show), and the crowd aww’d. As expected, Beirut played new material, old favorites, a cover of “Brazil” and a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg. Upon first listen, the new Beirut double EP March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland did not leave much of an impression on me. But, when Beirut performed tracks off the EP last night, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. Either the songs have grown on me during the last couple of weeks, or they were just meant to be heard in person. What I know for sure is that Beirut really knows how to romanticize horn instruments (see here for the exact embarrassing words I used). There’s a certain charm of the instruments’ timbre that is unfortunately not captured by recordings. Also, I have no idea what you haters of Beirut’s last secret show at Coco66 are talking about. I would have loved to have gone to drink and be merry with Beirut. Almost felt like the band was TOO sober for the music they were playing, but I do appreciate the musical precision.

Unsurprisingly, nothing on my wish list came true. I probably would have died on the spot if Owen Pallett had walked onto the stage for “Cliquot.” As outrageous as this sounds, I really hoped that it would happen. Ed Droste is out of town, working on the production of Grizzly Bear’s upcoming album, but Owen is supposed to be here for two shows on Friday and Saturday. Also, is “Transatlantique” just not a song that they practice? Am I the only person who is in love with that song?

Beirut performs at BAM this Friday and Saturday with the Vassar Orkestar. I should have held onto the tickets I had for Friday…

Oh, and Tune Yards, the first opening act, was awesome. More info on her here.

Setlist (via Stereogum)
Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
East Harlem (Unreleased)
Elephant Gun
The Shrew
The Concubine
Postcards From Italy
La Javanaise
After The Curtain
The Akara
Cocek (Unreleased)
- - - -
My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille
Scenic World
Gulag Orkestar

I believe the second encore included “Sunday Smile,” “Forks & Knives,” and “Brazil.” Thoughts?

The Akara - Beirut | Alternative Link

Transatlantique - Beirut | Alternative Link



Nate on February 5, 2009 at 6:31 PM said...

transatlantique and brazil are my favorite beirut songs. so you're not the only one. and brazil isn't even theirs. i'm still not excited to see them at BAM on saturday, even with the big orchestra. there must be something wrong with me. especially since you need to multiply beirut's effect on you by five in order to explain their effect on myself.

mimi on February 5, 2009 at 6:58 PM said...

what???? you should be excited. vassar orkestar!

a part of me wishes there would be a secret show tonight

Nate on February 5, 2009 at 7:18 PM said...

i think hes on letterman tomorrow.

i honestly think beirut ruined me. and it might be in a really bad way. i did get a ukulele though. hah.

i am happy theres a big orchestra, i was confused that there were only 5 members last night - i like when theres a bigger sound.

you missed passion pit for this though!

mimi on February 5, 2009 at 7:36 PM said...

meh, i've seen them 3 times already. i hope they played longer than 30 min last night. did you go to that?

gaston monescu on February 5, 2009 at 8:31 PM said...

just heard him for the fist time today.... instant fan

mimi on February 5, 2009 at 8:39 PM said...

glad to hear! beirut is very addicting once you get into it

Woodshed on February 6, 2009 at 4:00 AM said...

Good to hear Beirut are back on form. I was worried after the less than flattering comments on Brooklyn Vegan.

And Tune-Yards is great. I hope we hear a lot more from her.

mimi on February 6, 2009 at 7:35 AM said...

i'm always skeptical about the commenters on bv. i feel like it's a handful of people who are out to trash every band, every show.

Ali on February 9, 2009 at 1:52 PM said...

yeah man. second encore was "forks & knives", "sunday smile", and "brazil". they were the most beautiful band i have ever seen in my life and i have been listening to them non stop since wednesday. my favourite part though was when zach was all: "we can only play 2 more songs cause we have played everything we practiced." <3

clanmama on January 8, 2010 at 4:38 PM said...

Where is it Beirut is playing right now, all the news I can find seems ages old. I love them!! Thanks

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