Saturday, February 11, 2006

Belle and Sebastian

Thursday evening...

Well I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and the belle and sebastian gig at sheffield octagon did not disappoint.

Met a and j, and we headed up in time to catch the support act. I thought it was the rakes, and the only track i'd heard by them, 22 grand job, was rubbish. So I wasn't holding out much hope, a bit of a let down, seeing as the last time I saw B&S, a relatively unkown band called franz ferdinand were the support. However, the support was the brakes, not the rakes, and that extra B made all the difference. I thought some of their tracks were great, especially the ones with the repetitive dirty, thumping bass lines. The vocalist was amazing, reminiscent of Joe Strummer, and certainly some of the tunes reminded me of some clash stuff. They also played a few of their songs that lasted a matter of seconds, just like Melt Bananna. Fantastic!

The Brakes

The Octagon is not my favourite venue, it can feel rather cavenous, and sometimes the sound is rubbish, but last night the mix was pretty good, though there was still that lack of intimacy that venues like the leadmill generate. B&S played most of their new album, interspersed with tracks from their extensive back catalogue. What I love about seeing B&S live, is the way the group interchange around the myriad of musical instruments they have for their tunes, keyboards, xylophones, brass, violins, guitars, bass, and it's during these interchanges between songs, that allow stuart and stevie to chat with the crowd, making us part of the experience. There was quite a bit of heckling, and requests for one song or another, and at one point, whilst the band were moving around, stuart tried to remember how to play and sing an old song that had been requested. Their new material really worked well, with it's uplifting music hiding the cutting lyrics of love won and lost. There were quite a few old tunes played, including Electronic Renaissance, which works really well in the live setting, with steve and stuart dancing around. Quite a few songs from If you're feeling sinister, Fox in the Snow, which highlights all that is great about Stuart's delicate vocals, and Get me away from here I'm dying, with it's achingly beautiful lyrics: I could kill, yeah sure, but I can only make you cry with these words. In fact because it was such a sad song, played second in the encore, the band decided to play one last song, something that was a bit more uplifting to end on. Stuart also had a forray into the crowd, picking up a radio mic he jumped into the crowd, and we wondered what he was doing, only to see him come running past us to sit at the back, by the mixing desk to sing for a bit, before heading back to the stage. Everyone has to go and see Belle and Sebastian live!

Belle and Sebastian

I really need to work out how to set the shutter speed at super fast, when I'm taking photos at gigs, you only get good shots if you're close to the action. Oh well, it gives a bit of a flavour.


Cait said...

The concert sounds positively fabulous! I seriously do regret having been born in Canada at times; I suspect that Belle & Sebastian won't be visiting a venue near me any time soon. I've really been enjoying The Life Pursuit as of late, and I would have loved to hear some of the tracks live! I hope Broken Social Scene represented my country well when you were at their concert; when I saw them here in November they certainly put on a good show. Hopefully Leslie Feist was in attendence; we missed out on her at their last gig, and I was disappointed not to have seen her live. And thank goodness that you did get to hear The Brakes rather than the sometimes grating Rakes. It's no fun when you have to put up with a mediocre warm-up act just to see the main attraction. Glad to hear that B&S are as stellar live as their recordings are!

moog said...

No Feist at the BSS gig, don't recall the name of the singer, but she was good.

and B&S are playing:

February 25th TORONTO, The Docks with guests The New Pornographers
February 26th MONTREAL, Metropolis with guests The New Pornographers and March 24th VANCOUVER, Commodore

which I guess is as close as it gets to you.