This post is fairly long overdue because, well, I’m just incredibly lazy. A few weeks ago, 3/5 of All Things Go (Zack, Austin, Adrian), all of GWFAS (Derek, Everett) and 3 good friends of ours (Avi, Claire, Suzanne) went on an adventure to the 9:30 club in Washington, DC to see Belle & Sebastian and The New Pornographers perform together (thanks again to Claire for hooking Adrian, Suzanne, and I up with the tickets). NPR, who seems to be the new authority on interesting music, was there to record the show as well for their program, All Things Considered. See below for those downloads.
Doors opened at 7:00 and TNP came on at 8:30, but due to some “extracurricular” activities, we didn’t arrive at the show until closer to 9:00, meaning we missed a few crucial tracks. We entered just as one of my personal favorites, “Graceland“, was beginning. Even though I only caught about 2/3 of the song, this was probably my highlight for TNP. Granted, we missed two of my favorites from their new album (“Twin Cinema” and “Use It“). I’d be lying to you if I said i kinda wished TNP would finish so that I could see Belle & Sebastian, one of my favorite bands, but TNP put on a strong show, especially since they were playing without alt-country phenom Neko Case, who apparently was “too busy” to come play. Lead singer Carl (A.C.) Newman was fairly quiet throughout the show, but then near the end he wouldn’t stop talking. He apparently had cut his finger and was in need of a band-aid, which was supposed to be funny for the rest of us, but alas, was not. The true highlights of the show were passionate renditions of “The Slow Descent into Alcoholism” as well as the finale, “Sing Me Spanish Techno“. I was expecting a little more out of TNP, and while I love live shows, I felt that their recorded stuff was more enjoyable than hearing it live. Who knows, maybe they just had an off-night. Still, their performance was enjoyable, and I recommend picking up the recording by NPR.
The setlist for The New Pornographers show:
The End of Medicine
Testament to Youth in Verse
The Body Says No
Breakin’ the Law
The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism
The Bleeding Heart Show
Sing Me Spanish Techno
A few minutes, and two delicious quesadillas later, we were graced with the presence of Stuart Murdoch and his glorious troupe, Belle & Sebastian. I have to be honest when I say that these guys were the entire reason I went to this show. As enjoyable as TNP may be, Stuart and the rest of his crew have been a favorite band of mine for a few years now, and I wanted so desperately to see them live. Needless to say i was not disappointed. The group opened with a laid-back song, “Expectations”, from their 1999 release, Tigermilk but then jumped straight into the first single, “Another Sunny Day”, off of their latest album, The Life Pursuit. The band required no introduction, and everyone in the audience seemed to know the lyrics to every song they put on. The crowd was filled with old-school B&S fans who loved hearing older hits like “Your Cover’s Blown” (a highlight of the show), “She’s Losing It”, and “Electric Renaissance”. There were also plenty of fans who have just become familiar with B&S either through The Life Pursuit or Dear Catastrophe Waitress, another incredibly strong and relatively recent B&S album. These fans loved “The Blues are Still Blue”, “If You Find Yourself Caught in Love”, and especially “Funny Little Frog”. The group didn’t formally introduce themselves until a cute little role-call right at the end of the show. Stuart introduced all the members while the dirty guitar line from “White Collar Boy” slowly built up to fruition. This was definitely a highlight of the show, and Stuart is quite a bit funnier than people would expect.
The show featured Belle & Sebastian music for older and newer fans, and was one of the more enjoyable shows I’ve been to in my life. While they did leave out a few of my favorites (The Boy With the Arab Strap, Step Into My Office Baby, Sleep the Clock Around), they pretty much covered all the hits, with a slight emphasis on the newer songs, naturally. They even played my favoritest song, “I’m a Cuckoo”, and rocked the house with it. All and all, an incredible show for the crew from Glasgow, Scotland.
Below is the setlist for the Belle & Sebastian performance, along with the links to each live version of the song. Thanks again to Austin for taking the time to seperate each song, which I know takes quite alot of work.
Belle & Sebastian Live at the 9:30 Club:
Another Sunny Day
Sukie in the Graveyard
The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner
To Be Myself Completely
The Blues Are Still Blue (The song was cut off)
Piazza, New York Catcher
Belle and Sebastian
Funny Little Frog
She’s Losing It
Your Cover’s Blown (We couldn’t handle the synth line with the video screens)
Dog On Wheels
I’m A Cuckoo (incredible)
The Wrong Girl
If You Find Yourself Caught in Love
Judy and the Dream of Horses
White Collar Boy (listen to the role call in the beginning)
Me and the Major
Plus some banter between Stuart, the crowd, and the rest of B&S
Here are some more pictures of the show, taken by our two lovely ladies Suzanne and Claire.
The New Pornographers rockin’ the house
Carl (A.C.) Newman of TNP
Adrian, Me, Claire, and Derek enjoying B&S
Stuart of Belle & Sebastian
Austin couldn’t handle the synth line in Your Cover’s Blown
Belle & Sebastian
– Zack (w/ help from Austin)
NOTE: I am going to Europe today, and I wont be back until next Sunday. I hope you guys don’t miss me too much, while im checkin out the scenery in Amsterdam and Barcelona. I will be able to check email and check the site.