Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In the city

Never let it be said Zach Condon doesn't wear his influences on his sleeve. I knew virtually nothing of his music before going to Zaphod's on Thursday. Quite apart from the inescapably obvious klezmer-gypsy brass connection, about 15 minutes into Beirut's set I was thinking "Gee, his songs sound a lot like Stephen Merritt's stuff." How I managed to glance through his website without seeing his nods to Magnetic Fields beforehand, I don't know. I also thought Condon's voice sounded a bit like Morrisey. He also acknowledges The Smiths as an influence. I think his voice has strengthened since he recorded Gulag Orkestar, since it's far more obvious on CD than on stage.

The band kicked things off by walking from the dressing room to the stage honking and thumping. It's a short walk so they hung about the floor for a few seconds.

Mainman Zach Condon.

Perrin Cloutier and his big accordion.

Jon Natchez toots on the baritone sax while Jason Poranski strums.

Brass man Kelly Pratt and drummer Nick Petree in a very unexciting picture. Not shown: The glaring light that baked Nick for the entire set.

Kristin Ferbee; I didn't get many good pictures because she was way on the other side of the stage behind a barricade of microphones.

Paul Collins is a bouncy sort. Paul: "I was, like, totally into the song, and then I looked over at the TV screen, and some hockey player was totally getting creamed, and I thought 'Dude, I'm in Canada!' "

Zach sings! Everybody else sort of stands around!

More Joe!

Ukulele action!

Band: "Do you want another ukulele number?" Audience: "Yay! Yeah! Yahoo!!!" Band: "That is the first time in recorded history anyone has ever requested a ukulele number ..." Nonetheless, there was more ukulele (and some mandolin).

Putting the brass in brass band.

Singalong action! Whether you want to or not!

Like many other bands who have played Zaphod's, the group decided to skip the usual encore ritual ("We would go to our dressing room, but the way is blocked!" observed Zach). Paul did a quick tour of the crowd with his drum.

Jason adds some more percussion.

Zach brought a microphone stand into the crowd - "Oh no, Zach has broken the fourth wall!" Paul yelped - and brought the show into the audience.

For Kristen and Perrin didn't quite make it off the stage, but someone has to hold down the fort.

A charmingly enthusiastic and slightly drunk show with one of the liveliest audiences I've seen in some time.

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