Saturday, September 08, 2007

Interlude: Dancing in the Dark

We are fortunate to have not one but two full functioning venues within our very own Kimmel Center. I went to the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium a couple times last semester, for Mirah and the Hold Steady, but Thursday night marked only the second time I've been in Skirball, a more traditional seated theater. The night was marked by our annual Mystery Concert, in which the general populace is left in the dark in regards to the night's lineup, although unscrupulous members of Program Board inevitably leaked info to an ever increasing number of people "in the know." So, I went into the theater with a pretty solid idea of whom I would be seeing, but since I hadn't actually heard two thirds of the line up, it was still a pretty nice surprise.

Aloha, which seems to be from everywhere in the U.S. except for Hawaii, opened the night. Although the band began on keyboards (see above), they would cycle through an impressive number of instruments by the end of the night, including xylophone and tambourine. I was particularly impressed by the drummer, who flicked his sticks at incredible velocity and kept things lively throughout their set. I'm in the process of hearing their studio material, and it's quite pleasant.

I was over at WOXY for the first time in a while, and I saw that they've uploaded a ton of their Lounge Act! Here's Aloha's set, recorded on May 19th, 2006. Head over to their MySpace for some streaming content, as well as a download of "Summer Away." Enjoy.

MP3: Aloha - WOXY Lounge Act (05.19.06)
MySpace: Aloha
Official Site: Aloha
Buy: Here

Next up was Beirut, aka Zach Condon and many friends, who eschewed the general practice of telling the crowd who he was, although members of the audience were happy to offer assistance:

Curious (and loud) member of the audience: "Who are you?"
Equally loud but more informed member of the audience: "Beirut!"
Zach, onstage and feigning deafness: "...How old am I?"
Aforementioned member of the audience: "Old enough!"

Confusion aside, the crowd reacted with exhilarating enthusiasm, and I was really won over by the unique blend of instruments: violins, ukuleles, trumpets, without a guitar in sight. Zach's voice is a joy to behold, his European romanticism perfectly at home within the scenery of esoteric instruments. I know I'm kind of late to the party here, but Beirut is awesome, and I'm sure I'll be listening to his albums for a while.

Beirut's playing a few shows in the area towards the end of the month, definitely recommended. Here's Beirut at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, recorded on October 20th, 2006. Enjoy!

1. Gulag Orkestar
2. Brandenburg
3. After The Curtain
4. Elephant Gun
5. Mount Wroclai
6. The Canals of Our City
7. Postcards From Italy
8. Maspeth
9. Brazil
10. Scenic World
11. Transatlantic
12. Ederlezi
13. Closing Song
14. Siki Siki Baba
15. Carousels

MySpace: Beirut
Official Site: Beirut
Buy: Here

It's not often that I'll see a band twice in such a short proximity, but Ted Leo/Rx is definitely not a bad one to see. Although departed bassist Dave Lerner was no longer present, the band was in its usual high energy, highly entertaining form. Swapping their opening McCarren Pool pair, the band lead off with the incredible "Me and Mia" and then "Sons of Cain," which set the tone for an awesome set. Things were admittedly a little predictable, but that didn't make, say, hearing "One More Time" during "Little Dawn" any less gratifying. Unlike a lot of bands, the inter-song banter was great, as Ted fought off requests for "Since U Been Gone" and commented on NYU's vocabulary. I think the defining moment of the set was when one brave student went on stage and started dancing. Instead of being booted off (immediately, anyhow), he was handed a tambourine and joined the festivities. Ted finished with a great cover of the Boss' "Dancing in the Dark," an excellent end to an excellent evening.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists play Webster Hall on December 5th.

MP3: Ted Leo - Me and Mia (Live on Domestic Disturbance)
MP3: Ted Leo - Criminal Piece (Live on Domestic Disturbance)
Official Site: Ted Leo
Buy: Here

And, conveniently enough, it's all Webster Hall for the rest of weekend. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Good Stuff!! Beirut is fantastic.

Thuy said...

Jealous of being able to see Beirut live.
Are the files down? I would like to get the first 2 songs.

Roland said...

Yeah, bandwidth's exceeded. (8 gigs in three days!) Here's a .zip of the whole set, looking for more hosting...

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