Posted in music | pictures on October 1, 2010

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Bill Pearis

Belle & Sebastian

"Belle & Sebastian have good luck with weather, actually," remarked Stuart Murdoch three song's into his band's set on the Williamsburg Waterfront. "We've got God on our side." Murdoch was being cheeky but we were all praying -- or crossing our fingers -- that Tropical Storm Nicole would hold off long enough to let Belle & Sebastian make it through their show. The heavens never opened up, making for sticky but a highly enjoyable evening with one of the most genuinely charming bands on the planet.

This is a far different band than the one that shyly made their shambolic American debut at the Angel Orensanz Center at CMJ 1997. Belle and Sebastian know how to do big outdoor shows right, and Murdoch has turned into the kind of funny, charismatic frontman who has the crowd eating out of his hand the entire time. He joked about the percentage of dudes in the audience ("if it gets above 60% I quit"), and threw out autographed footballs to kids in the audience. "That last pass was from something we call 'rugby' which is superior to your American football."

Murdoch also invited some audience members onstage to clap for "There's Too Much Love" and "The Boy with the Arab Strap," including one dude who took the opportunity to unleash his inner Jarvis/Morrissey, clearly loving the spotlight. I think the Secret Service woulda flagged the guy as a threat; here Murdoch just laughed and let him dance and shake the tambourine.  He also gave them all medals. "It's like the Indie Olympics!"

The 20-song set was a nice mix of old favorites with only four from the band's forthcoming Write About Love. There was a string section, which had me hoping we might get "Waking Up to Us" which didn't happen, but we did get the Tigermilk gem "We Rule the School,"  b-side "The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner," "The Boy with the Arab Strap" and four songs from If You're Feeling Sinister.

There was also "Step Into My Office Baby" (which I think the whole crowd thought was going to be "White Collar Boy" at first), the Thin Lizzy-esque "I'm a Cuckoo" and "Piazza, New York Catcher" from Dear Catastrophe Waitress and "Another Sunny Day" and "Sukie in the Graveyard" from The Life Pursuit. (I still haven't heard them do "The Blues are Still Blue.") Stevie Jackson's sole number of the night was Write About Love's "I'm Not Living in the Real World" which he enlisted the crowd's help for the "o0h ooh" chorus.

With the threat of rain, some bands might be antsy but the band never seemed to pay it any mind. By midset, I don't think the audience did either. It was a bad night for hair, but a great one for memorable shows. If you'd told me in January that two of my favorite concerts would be big outdoor productions I'd have scoffed. But between Pavement last week and Belle & Sebastian last night, I find it hard to believe anything will top them.

I missed most of opener Teenage Fanclub's set -- got there in time to hear "Sparky's Dream" and "The Concept" -- but I'd seen play a killer set earlier in the week at Bowery Ballroom. It didn't seem like the Sound Gods were doing them any favors, their signature harmonies muffled in the wind and humidity.

Setlists for Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub, plus lots more pictures below...

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Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

Teenage Fanclub

More tour dates HERE.

Teenage Fanclub - Setlist
Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything
Baby Lee
About You
I Need Direction
I Don't Want Control of You
Don't Look Back
Your Love Is the Place I Come From
When I Still Have Thee
Sparky's Dream
The Concept

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Belle & Sebastian - Setlist
I Didn't See it Coming
I'm a Cuckoo
Step Into My Office, Baby
Dylan in the Movies
I'm Not Living in the Real World
Piazza, New York Catcher
I Want the World to Stop
Lord Anthony
Sukie in the Graveyard
We Rule the School
Another Sunny day
The Loneliness of a Middle-Distance Runner
Write About Love
There's Too Much Love
The Boy with the Arab Strap
If You Find Yourself Caught in Love
Judy and the Dream of Horses
Sleep the Clock Around
Me and the Major
Take Me Away from Here, I'm Dying

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Comments (48)

great work amanda

Posted by chris gersbeck | October 1, 2010 2:04 PM

amazing show, great photos as well

Posted by e | October 1, 2010 2:04 PM

Sleep the Clock Around is always so damn good live.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:09 PM

romance blooms by the porta potties.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:09 PM

Zzzzzzz...

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:10 PM

i agree 2:09. that's definitely a song that should be played at every b&s gig.

and so true about "step into my office, baby" sounding like "white collar boy" in the intro. well, the thumping drums anyway.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:11 PM

"Get me away . . .", not "Take me away."

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:12 PM

+1. this show was truly lovely.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:29 PM

anyone talking shit about this show is just jealous that they wussed out and stayed home.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:30 PM

Less crowd pictures. Sure, set the scene, but nobody gives a fuck about some nerds in the rain.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:34 PM

>>Sure, set the scene, but nobody gives a fuck about some nerds in the rain.

There was no rain, g.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:49 PM

#12 pic down... its Bill Gates!

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:49 PM

2:30, Nerds, sure, but to be accurate there was no rain.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 3:20 PM

CORRECTION: 2:34

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 3:21 PM

fantastic encore.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 3:43 PM

I actually quite like the occasional crowd shots. It's always interesting to get a sense of the audience since the people there can significantly affect how the show goes.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 4:03 PM

true, the sea of plaid shirts differ from show to show, i like to see what is the latest hot color

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 4:12 PM

show of the year

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 4:32 PM

definitely show of the year. only thing that rivaled it was AF @ MSG.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 4:41 PM

All the whiners that complained that the show should have been cancelled now need to come forth and admit they are morons.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:00 PM

after the concert me and my friends went to the middle eastern place for dinner. Hummus of the year!

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:03 PM

SHOW OF THE YEAR, hands down. Only show that rivaled it was every other show this year.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:09 PM

Hi, this is 2:34.. You're right.. It didn't rain. My mistake. I like the scene to be set, but somehow these pictures make the show look nerdier and more lame than it actually was. nerds, man.. Nerds.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:11 PM

what was better? name one show this year that was better than B&S at WW. please. i'd love to hear it. no? thought not.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:15 PM

G R E A T S H O W

Hope they can come back again soon

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:24 PM

Pavement last week, for starters.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:39 PM

I really hope they come back to the area - and not play T5. Wellmont would be nice!

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:44 PM

dude, i got some prime tail after this show
sure it was nerd tail, but still hot

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 6:21 PM

Great show but IMHO LCD and Hot Chip still top this year's list

Posted by Ed | October 1, 2010 6:22 PM

"we rule the school" felt overwhelming... lovely show.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 6:30 PM

Wavves was clearly the show of the year.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 6:32 PM

lcd isn't even in the top 20. show was a bore.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 7:44 PM

There are still shows being played at the Waterfront? I thought this was only a summer thing.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 8:01 PM

Nothing wrong with crowd shots, if they are actually good ones. These? Not so much.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 8:41 PM

suks that i couldnt make it...new CD is great...

must say though (and i am originally from brooklyn) but why would they open the tour in brooklyn and not manhattan...do they realize the subway system is horrible..

Posted by message340 | October 1, 2010 9:45 PM

Yes... Williamsburg is practically Yonkers... jeez louise...

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 11:00 PM

It was a fine show. They were pretty great. But it was also super precious. More precious than Sufjan by a mile. Anything that precious can't be so amazing. I was left a little bored for a lot of the 2 hours.

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 12:03 AM

your pics are lovely. It's so nice to see crowd shots in addition to the typical concert pics...it really tells the complete story. Well done.
And the talk about 'nerds'? grow up!

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 12:22 AM

it's called PHOTO EDITING... look into it.
if you can't make an effective story in 10-12 photos, consider an alternate career.

Posted by PE | October 2, 2010 11:49 AM

hmm maybe you should go to a website where they post 10-12 photos for an event. a typical BV post contains 35-60 photos, and that's a conservative estimate

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 12:33 PM

Good lord! kids today are really obnoxious brats. too many pictures of a concert on a music blog? is that really worth complaining about? people need to learn some web-etiquette already. if you dont have anything nice to say then please just SHUT UP!!! no one cares what you think...

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 2:30 PM

I tend to only like over-stylized photos of the band interspersed with various members of the crowd "looking cool" or "ironic" or "checking out the scene". It really makes me wish that I was there...

Posted by Anonymous | October 3, 2010 4:45 PM

most enjoyable sets i've seen this year:

1) b&s at the waterfront
2) LCD at the philly naval yard
3) cut copy at the waterfront

also, i dont understad why people are surprised about the negativity- isn't that what BV commenters are known for?

Posted by Anonymous | October 3, 2010 9:18 PM

I was there, although I couldn't hear shit. The sound sucked partially due to the wind, but mainly due to shitty hipster girls talking the whole time. Williamsburg Waterfront... Never again!

Posted by Anonymous | October 4, 2010 9:56 AM

you should've been up front. everyone was just singing along and dancing.

Posted by Anonymous | October 4, 2010 10:09 AM

What a bunch of whiny simpering fucks on here.

Too many crowd pics? Skip 'em. Oh that's right, you are multitasking and it takes too much time away from your Twittering and Facebooking.

To all of you whining about the pictures: fuck you.

Posted by Turd Burglar | October 4, 2010 3:17 PM

he looks like donald fagen with those glasses

Posted by James Snuka | October 10, 2010 9:26 PM

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