by kevin diamond
Secret shows make you feel cool. Beirut makes you feel timeless. These are opposing ideas but last night they met at a nexus. The hip met the ageless, and left a big bang. It was a night spent packed in a crowded room with strangers and friends, booze and beers. It was uplifting and unexpected, and Zack Condon, of Beirut, gave us an hour and a half of beautiful music to boot. Hard to beat that.
Beirut’s musical qualities are a perfect storm of timbre and instrumentation that leaves one drifting in the musical timeline. Though there are modern aspects of his melodies, the Balkan rhythms and gypsy wedding band shuffles, the horns and accordion and ukulele, keep you from being tethered to any one place for too long.
Coco66 is the perfect venue for this kind of band. Small and intimate, filled with friends and fans who found out about the show at the last minute. Beirut allowed themselves to relax, let loose and have fun, playing tracks from their back catalog, songs from their upcoming new EPs, and covers of Serge Gainsberg and the song “Brazil” that you probably know best from the movie of the same name. Their chops were impressive, especially considering how much whisky they were drinking. It was the moments where they let their guard down that were most rewarding. The accordion player accidentally unplugging his Farfisa while attempting a flashy solo led Zack to comment “Keyboardists… give them a solo and they take a mile” with a knowing grin. It’s hard to remember that this kid is only 22, he has the intelligence of a musician twice his age.