Especially as a photographer, I admit that I’m biased towards artists/bands that go out of their way to entertain and excite. Guitarists doing jump kicks, emcees storming the barricades, bone shattering beats… Beirut has none of that. But the Santa Fe / Brooklyn crew proved you don’t need to resort to tricks to pull off a powerhouse show, leaving the crowd at the Pageant in full adoration and awe.
The evening first welcomed Laetitia Sadier, known for her work in the influential post-rock band Stereolab. Though joined a few times by Beirut members, the set was mostly Sadier quietly working away at her guitar, singing in both French and English.
The Rip Tide has been a constant on my listening rotation ever since I first heard the beginning horn and accordion line in “A Candle’s Fire,” with Zach Condon constructing an album with a beautiful blend of Balkan folk and indie pop. It’s a strange formula, but definitely one that you know works when you see an entire venue swaying and clapping along to music featuring an accordion, french horn and tuba. With Beirut’s generous photo policy (allowing photographers three songs in the pit and the ability to shoot anywhere else for the rest of the set) it was tempting to keep shooting, but it wasn’t long before I was lulled in by Condon’s low serenading voice to plop down in a seat in the balcony and just enjoy Beirut’s performance.
-Apparently half of Zach Condon’s family lives in St. Louis, with a good number filling the VIP box that evening. It was cute to walk by and see them cheering.
-The band had a music box for sale at the merch table. Definitely one of the more creative items I’ve seen a band sell.