Beirut at the Cabooze, 7/21/12

Beirut at the Cabooze, 7/21/12
Photo by Stacy Schwartz

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Slideshow: Beirut at the Cabooze

The Cabooze, Minneapolis
Saturday, July 21, 2012

From the accordion's opening notes on "Scenic World," to the staccato trumpets on "East Harlem," Beirut created an atmosphere of wonder and delight for the sold out crowd at the Cabooze outdoor plaza Saturday night. Bandleader and singer Zach Condon laughed mid-set, saying it must be the heat that was making him so giddy. Either that, or the 2,500 people in a parking lot singing along to every song, dancing waltzes, or just raising their glasses in appreciation.

Beirut performed music from every album, including fan favorites like "Elephant Gun" and "Sunday Smile." Condon has a knack for taking hints of mariachi, Balkan music, and French chanson, and infusing them rather handily with bits of electronic and indie pop music. It's music almost anyone can relate to.

Beirut at the Cabooze, 7/21/12
Photo by Stacy Schwartz

The new album, The Rip Tide, shows a lot of growth in this mix of musical styles. The world music influence is definitely still intact, but there's something more now. It's sort of a grown-up version of the band from the guy who wrote the Lon Gisland EP back in 2007. There's a modern, mature sound that really comes through with a new American-pop theme to it. This is something that will hopefully continue to expand as Beirut moves forward, and it definitely helps round out their live show.

Although Beirut sounded wonderful, they're understandably not much to look at. This is a band where it's really all about the music. There's no real gimmick here. There are some pretty red and white lights strung behind the stage that light up depending on the tune being played, but beyond that, it's just six guys on stage. They sort of stand stationary (the exception being Condon himself who sort of floats back and forth) and wait for their turn to play. It's like an orchestra waiting for their conductor, which makes perfect sense. 

The Crowd: The crowd ranged from the 13-year-old girl constantly twirling next to me, to people my parents' age standing in the back with beers in hand. It makes sense that this sort of exotic sounding indie-band would draw like this.

Personal Bias: Yes, I personally swoon every time Condon lifts his rotary valve flugelhorn or strums the ukulele.

Overheard In The Crowd: "If they play 'Scenic World' I'm gonna screaaaammmm!" Lucky for that fan, they did.

Random Notebook Dump: I didn't have a notebook, so this is more of a brain dump. Beirut unintentionally (I hope) dissed the Twin Cities for over five years. Condon mentioned during his set that he remembered playing at the Triple Rock in 2006, and fall of 2011's mainroom show at First Ave was (I believe) their first time back in Minneapolis since then. That makes me cry, so please, Zach, don't ever do that again.

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