Beirut [Live]


Leaping into a sprint off the starting line of their 2016 tour, Beirut rolled into Manchester igniting the UK branch of their following that spans continents. Their particular brand of American Pop is deliciously distinctive. Frontman Zach Condon has clearly been heavily influenced by elements of Balkan Folk and must have once had a stiff kick in the teeth from a rather evangelical Francophile. Their brass heavy, up beat tones formed an atmospheric melody that imbued the venue with an enchantment that wasn’t to be missed.

For me, this is a band which has really matured. They’ve maintained an exciting level of excellence throughout their career while simultaneously developing into a group that went from subscribing to a broad set of genres to establishing themselves as paradigmatic of a sound they themselves characterise. Their music is both uplifting and powerful; two elements of their recorded works that were, thankfully, not at all lost in their live set.

I had the pleasure of seeing them at the converted Albert Hall; once a gothically decorated Methodist hall with a gargantuan back wall embedded with the pipes of an organ large enough to befit such a striking venue. This instrument may have been dormant, but Beirut certainly weren’t, taking charge with an impressive set. Condon’s dreamy voice would lull you to slumber if it wasn’t punctuated by a flurry of trumpet and trombone that could do naught but put a bob in your knee and a smile on your face.

In short, they smashed it. Playing their classics from Gulag Orkestar right the way up to my personal favourite album No, No, No I couldn’t help but see a bright future for this colourful band and sincerely hope they come back soon.