Posted in music | pictures | video on February 9, 2009

photos by Natasha Ryan

Beirut

Beirut thrives on the indie-rock circuit playing music that has little to do with typical rock sounds or rhythms. On Friday its nearly all-acoustic lineup included accordion, trumpet, trombone, bass fiddle and drums; Mr. Condon switched between rotary valve flugelhorn and ukulele. Beirut rarely uses a standard rock beat; more often it has the sputtering snare drum and occasional bass-drum thuds of waltzes, tangos, polkas and Balkan dances.

On Friday night Beirut was backed for part of its set by the three dozen musicians of the Vassar Orkestar -- on strings, reeds and horns, with arrangements by Beirut's trumpeter Kelly Pratt -- who added elegant pizzicato parts and put more oomph in the oompah. Mr. Condon beckoned the audience out of the opera-house seats, to throng the stage as if the Brooklyn Academy of Music were just a bigger club. [NY Times]

Beirut played four shows in Brooklyn in two weeks. It started with a secret show at Coco66 in Greenpoint on January 27th. Then on February 4th came Music Hall of Williamsburg, and finally on Friday (2/6) and Saturday (2/7) came the two shows with the Vassar Orkestar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Kaki King opened those last two. Beirut also appeared on Letterman Friday night. Video from that, and more pictures from the last BAM show, below...

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Beirut is among those playing Coachella.

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Comments (57)

Simply stunning show at BAM. Beirut never fails to amaze. :)

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:41 AM

Kaki ..my "Everybody Loves You" CD that I bought at the Bottom Line, from you, has oxidized. I need a new one.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:49 AM

they let people take pictures?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:54 AM

Good show Friday night. Especially liked "A Sunday Smile" and "Scenic World".

Posted by tremags | February 9, 2009 9:26 AM

Stunning? Really? That was probably the most boring & souless live music I've ever witnessed.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:30 AM

Please do not rush the stage in an opera house.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:37 AM

@ 9:37

Zach asked them to?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:42 AM

@ 9:30 - agreed.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:48 AM

He asked the front row to stand against the stage off of the mic, which prompted the entire orchestra section to rush to the front.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:52 AM

entire orchestra section jumps on stage with Clap Your Hands, it should happen, probably won't...

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:15 AM

Beirut has put on a few.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:16 AM

on sat night he asked everyone to rush the stage. i would have gone to MHOW if i wanted that experience. it was so annoying, but they were still great.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:24 AM

I remember when Arcade Fire played Radio City, the security was telling people if you rush the stage you will be arrested. No one rushed the stage.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:32 AM

Letterman was impressed.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:38 AM

Letterman is always "impressed."

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:46 AM

yea dave must of enjoyed that, showed a lot of interest there. cool shit

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:54 AM

Friday night at BAM was the worst crowd, representing everything that's wrong with going to NY shows. Hey hipsters on blackberries in front of me, you're stupid, and every one of the photos you took were blurry. Hey hipster chick behind me singing loudly - your voice kinda ruined the show for a lot of people around us, but thanks for sharing! Hey old pony-tail hipster guy standing in my sight line - your female companion really wanted you to sit down with her, but obviously eye-scanning the balcony for the entire show was more important. Hey, little short girl whose friends pulled her into the aisle to mope-dance with them, I'm sorry you didn't see much of the show after your friends made you move. Your view from your orchestra seat was much better. And hey, Beirut, I wish this show could have been as brilliant as last year at MHOW. But you can't win them all. Next time, when $25 tickets are selling outside for $150, I will do what's right and take the hipster cash.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:03 AM

Did you stand still the entire time?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:24 AM

Zach was stoned and or drunk, it was not subtle. I was TOTALLY underwhelmed. Grow the F up.

Posted by Anon | February 9, 2009 11:29 AM

I'm so glad someone got a picture (14th from bottom) of the reeeeeeeally tall dude in front center. I looked at the back of his head for an hour and fifteen wondering if he knew that he was taller than the ENTIRE front section of the orchestra, easily, by a foot.
Otherwise, great show. I was originally stoked that I paid $25 for seats that I figured were too good to be true...turns out I was right. Oh well, what can you do.

Kaki King has such awe inspiring control over her instrument. Her talent is really amazing. But she's still annoying as fuck.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:36 AM

@11:36 AM:
I agree with you about Kaki King. Great musician, great music, annoying annoying stage banter. She couldn't come up with something better than "rectum"?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:38 AM

These are nice pictures. Did BAM authorize the photographer to take them? Because I was told by an usher to stop taking photos.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:50 AM

@11:50

yes, there's a little thing called a "photo pass".

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:59 AM

@11:59

sassy!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:08 PM

If Beirut wanted people to stand then sholdnt have played a seated venue. Our seats were under the orchestra so our view was totally cut off when everyone stood. Sure he would have been 'bummed' by ppl not standing but at least everyone would have been comfortable.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:10 PM

wait did i hear that right $150 to see Beirut? are you insane?!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:15 PM

"If Beirut wanted people to stand then sholdnt have played a seated venue. Our seats were under the orchestra so our view was totally cut off when everyone stood. Sure he would have been 'bummed' by ppl not standing but at least everyone would have been comfortable."

you were under the orchestra? i dont understand

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:15 PM

Those aisles are so narrow as well. Everyone in entire row litterally needs to get up just so you can get out. When zach told everyone to come up, this couple expected all 6 feet, 200lbs of me to squeeze by them rather than move. I must have broke every toe on the poor guy's foot on the way out! I know it wasn't right, but when everyone stood up I couldn't see anything. Was under mezzanine as well.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:27 PM

yeah I was pretty happy to be in the balcony. bowery shows much much better.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:49 PM

a lot of videos from saturday's show:

www.youtube.com/maestro416

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:59 PM

judging by these comments, i am so happy i saw beirut at vassar last week. we got treated to an amazing show and everyone there was appreciative and respective. sadly, a lot of new yorkers just don't get it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:09 PM

The crowd Friday was pretty shitty.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:10 PM

The music was fantastic. Sort of miss the rest of the band, though.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:20 PM

I have seen the future of indie rock. And it is in the form of a prepubescent alcoholic doing a kermit the frog impression for 90 minutes. I miss the gin blossoms.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:04 PM

the view from the balcony was perfect. front row balcony tix were available when they went on sale while the majority of the floor was already sold out. think about getting a balcony seat instead of a random orchestra next time you're given options to choose.

if you got a seat in the orchestra you were risking having people standing in front of you in their seats to begin with. i imagine half the floor running to the front opened up the back for some decent sight lines though.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:09 PM

he was totally high the whole time. he messed up a bunch of lyrics and some of his horn stuff was for the wrong songs. kelly pratt was the only professional on that stage. that dude is legit. also, why does his band seem to change alot? that drummer seemed like a 40yr old nerd, and the bass player seemed to be the drug dealer since he didn't have much talent.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:09 PM

what was kaki's setlist on saturday?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:22 PM

i sat in the mezzanine and was upset that we didnt get to rush the stage like the rest of the orchestra. next time if you want to sit then sit upstairs! more space for us.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:24 PM

Setlist

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=30951yh&s=5

Mimizan
Elephant Gun
The Concubine
Postcards From Italy
Javannaise (Serge Gainsbourg)
East Harlem (new-old song)
Mt. Wroclai
Cherbourg
Cocek
Sunday Smile
The Akara
The Shrew
Forks and Knives (La Fete)
La Llorona

Encore

Nantes
My night with the prostitute from Marseilles
Gulag Orkestar
After the Curtain


I loved the show, but I was one of the ones who rushed the stage

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:41 PM

"I miss the gin blossoms."

OH NO YOU DI'N'T!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:47 PM

dude is not high u f'ing morons. the only people that bitch like this are the one's that hate their lives cause they work some stupid fucking job and defly don't play or understand anything about music

Posted by um | February 9, 2009 4:31 PM

Ever seen Hezbollah, Beruit sucks.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 4:37 PM

i miss the old indie rock. today's indie rock fucking sucks!!!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 6:19 PM

^^^ nominee for most ambiguous hate statement in comments. old indie rock = ???

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 6:28 PM

The crowd at BAM Saturday night didn't completely suck. And Zach was not high or drunk for our show. So yes, it was stunning.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 7:18 PM

the stage rushing ruined the gorgeous atmosphere of a BAM show. this show could have been magical. instead i had a bunch of high school hipsters shuffling by me every 30 seconds to get closer to the stage. would have liked to enjoy the totally sweet view of a great band in a sick venue. thanks anyway, little Zach!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:36 PM

I had an excellent view from the first mezzanine. I observed and listened intently to the entire show from a great vantage, but I must say: it was terribly underwelming. I'm a huge fan of Beirut on record, but this show was just sub-par, folks. I'm not even going to get into all the details, but the most obvious thing was Condon's WEAK vocal performance. I don't understand how you could not realize this.

Posted by gorbert | February 9, 2009 11:28 PM

I went to see Kaki King on Friday and she and her drummer Matt were so amazing. The guitar was a little loud but it was so fun.
I was really disappointed by the crowd and performance when Beirut started.
We left earlier and went to a nice Mexican restaurant.

Posted by peggy smith | February 9, 2009 11:55 PM

The Saturday BAM show was great, it sounds like Friday was the opposite. Good thing I went to the Final Fantasy show that night!

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 1:30 AM

yeah, it reall is unfortunate that everyone got up now that i think about it. really not fair for the people who planned ahead to get front row seats.

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 8:02 AM

speaking as a person who had shitty seats: Bravo, beirut, bravo.

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 9:10 AM

peggy smith, you're funny! what mexican restaurant did you go to?

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 9:24 AM

Love the band and the music.
On Friday, I think they seemed a little flat. They really needed to work on their dynamics. There really wasn't much variance. If they were softer at certain points it would really have accentuated those louder parts.

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 9:28 AM

I was at the Saturday show and I had a completely different experience. The only problem I had was with the sound. The background harmonies should have been louder and the drums sounded muffled. Other than that, it was a great show. $25 WELL SPENT

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 10:21 AM

Beirut was so underwhelming, and when you're trying for what they are, it really comes across poorly. Masquerading high-art pop. Practice your crappy arrangements more.

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2009 10:38 AM

Hey hipster girl behind me singing loudly - his voice a little ruined the show for a lot of people around us, but thanks for sharing! Hey old pony-tail type hipster standing in my line of vision - his partner wanted to sit with her, but obviously his eyes scanning the balcony for the whole show was more important. Hey, little short girl whose friends pulled her into the hallway to Mope-dance with them, sorry you did not see much of the show after friends move. His view of his chair was much better

Posted by free ms points codes | March 20, 2010 10:09 PM

Wow All I can say was I was actually excited because they ran a few commercials bout bout this in my area. But after watching it I was not so impressed. I am going to checkout some of there tracks and see it this was just a really bad planed show for them, but I am guessing not!!

Posted by Free Microsoft Points codes | May 11, 2010 8:44 PM

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