Friday night, the Deborah Conway mini-concert at Tony & Rae’s. Well done Tony & Rob for setting it up. Just a few songs, but they were a few great songs. Very enjoyable. Tony’s got it described in detail.
Saturday night at the Palais Theatre… first the support act, Architecture In Helsinki. Perhaps the best thing I can say is that they have potential. A couple of good songs, but they overwhelmingly left me with the impression of a high school rock Eisteddfod entry — all looking very young, leaning a bit too much towards shouting (instead of singing) into the microphone, and while they could play, seemed not quite adept at it.
I assume they have some fans though. In the interval, a couple sitting next to us disappeared, not to be seen again during the main act. I should also mention that one woman was spotted before the concert holding a cactus. Perhaps it was just an extension of the idea of playing music to your plants.
Anyway, to the main act: Belle & Sebastian. Jack Black’s character in High Fidelity described them as sad bastard music. Well many hundreds of sad bastards packed into the theatre (not quite a sell-out) and rocked out. Great stuff. These guys are obviously very accomplished musicians, but also have a terrific stage presence, and know their showmanship. Apart from a lot of their latest CD (glad I bought it and played it a few times), some of their biggest hits got the crowds dancing in the aisles, and on asking for requests, took a minute or two to learn and then play the Rolling Stones’ Under My Thumb, to the delight of all. They played flawlessly, brought extra zest to their songs, had terrific lighting and the banter with the audience was great. A couple of times they had a bunch of audience members up on stage dancing along, and gave one lucky girl a very memorable night by having her sing a verse of the closing song. The crowd loved it. A great night.