For anyone that is fondly familiar with Zach Condon, there’s a height of anticipation before seeing this creature and his wondrous creations live.
Yes, hearing is essential too but to behold the young New Mexican marvel, to actually observe the octet of instrumentation and magic that make Beirut come alive is pretty exciting too. That’s why it’s a shame that this particular gig has to been seen behind an unforgiving view inside The Arches. Standing on tip-toes as the ground seemingly slopes back from the stage, it’s a struggle to only catch glimpses of brass and the tops of several gifted heads. Not ideal, it has to be said but nothing can be done. Oh well. Vision isn’t all that necessary to be enlightened of the undeniable symphonic glory that descends from the likes of an accordion, horns, piano and Condon’s voice, an impeccable instrument all its own. The music produced is reminiscent of exotic, dated and distant lands with stories to tell as an ancient photograph would do, and is a bewitching blend of the worlds he has seen and absorbed for the past five years. Only 21 years of age, Condon has a comfortingly old soul that emanates in his latest gem, The Flying Club Cup - follow-up to the highly adored Eastern Euro folk of Gulag Orkestar. The wistful, lovelorn woes of songs like ‘Nantes’ and ‘After the Curtain’ intertwine from both records all night before a tenderly ebullient conclusion with ‘Postcards from Italy’ and ‘A Sunday Smile’ as an encore. Now all that can be done is to be sure and take home one of those beautifully crafted (and covered) vinyls, clutching it with high hopes of what still remains to be seen.
As seen in Is This Music?