Last Saturday Mitch, Dirk, and I saw Belle & Sebastian and The New Pornographers at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, which I’d been looking forward to forever, obviously.
New Porn’s set was great, playing the favorites, but many of them seemed bored to be there. Mitch speculated that they were nervous. I’d been warned about rude comments to the audience, but we didn’t get any. Sidenote: Carl Newman’s lisp is noticible when he sings live. I think we all went home and tried to hear it in the recordings afterwards.
My favorite New Porner of the night was vocalist/keyboarderist Kathryn Calder who takes over in Neko’s absense, and who also happens to be Carl Newman’s niece. She has a great voice, reminds me of my Aunt Stacie, and also plays with Immaculate Machine.
New Porn are smart to put drummer Kurt Dahle in the center of their stage setup because he may be the most entertaining to watch with those facial expressions, er, contortions. I didn’t capture the good ones so you’ll just have to imagine.
Dirk made the comment that B&S are a band that you feel like you shouldn’t actually get to see. Their greatness has always seemed just a little removed from reality. But alas, they were there and we were there and it was magical. They opened with “The Stars of Track and Field” and played a good amount from Pursuit and Sinister as well as a smattering of other satistying favorites like “Jonathan David”, “The State I Am In” and “Your Cover’s Blown”.
Electric Renaissance was a highlight, during which Stevie, dappered up in his suit, danced around with a melodica (a mouth-keyboard thingy). Stuart danced around quite a bit too, like a delightful little sprite. At one point he ventured into the audience to sing “If You Find Yourself Caught In Love” and was hug-ttacked on his way back by an overzealous teen who didn’t notice that he’d knocked Stuart in the mouth with the mic and sent his balance askew.
This caused him to miss some lyrics, so once back onstage he backed up so that, as he said, we wouldn’t miss out on our 79 cents worth of concert. Stuart definitely has the non-distracting witty on-stage banter down. He introduced the encore with a story about how their staff had presented them with a pie chart of audience requests to help them decide what to play. (He had previously demanded everyone stop yelling their requests and raise their hands to be called on instead.) Perfectly, they finished with “Sleep The Clock Around”. I could say much more about Beans’ mustache, how Mick is cuter up close, and the afterparty, but I’ll spare you the blurry photos and end the gushing here.
New video for “The Blues Are Still Blue” is here, by the way.