Beirut, Albert Hall, Manchester, gig review: 'Evokes a nostalgic atmosphere of old Europe'
Live proof of still untapped musical pleasure ahead
The teetotal non-conformists that once packed the balconies of Manchester’s Albert Hall might have had a sneaking admiration for Zach Condon’s high-minded musicality.
They would certainly have shared his penchant for brass even if his tastes owe more to the Balkans than the Black Dyke.
Beirut lived up to this extraordinary setting, taking time out to praise the majesty of their Neo-Gothic surroundings on their first European date in a year.
Armed with tuba, trombone, trumpet, accordion and ukulele to accompany conventional drums, keyboards and bass, they used the atmosphere to fine effect showcasing a wide range of moods, tempos and styles.
Fears that a touch of brass can, in the wrong hands, go a long-way, are quickly soothed as a devoted audience responded enthusiastically to tracks such as "Postcards from Italy" and later "Elephant Gun".
If at first it felt a little like a cerebral exercise in musical appreciation rather than a joyous outpouring of love this was remedied in the second half of the set when the band shifted to a more upbeat realm.
Condon’s voice, sometimes quavering, sometimes mannered and Morrissey-esque, evokes a nostalgic atmosphere of old Europe.
At the encore after much thumping and shouting – alone with his ukulele on stage – there was little doubt he commands the total approval of those before him.
For newcomers to this band this is that most pleasing of things - live proof of still untapped musical pleasure ahead.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world