If you blinked you missed the opportunity to grab tickets for the just announced Beirut show, happening Sunday, October 2 at The Independent in San Francisco. The newly added show sold out within hours of being announced.
Fret not Beirut fans, the Santa Fe indie folk group led by Zach Condon are also appearing across the bridge in the East Bay October 1 at the Fox Theatre where tickets still remain available. Former Stereolab singer Leatitia Sadier will open both shows.
Beirut’s triumphant debut, Gulag Orkestar, 11 tracks of gypsy folk-inspired music (sounding like it should come from a band named Gogol Bordello, but I digress) was recorded primarily by Condon with the help of early Beirut members Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost, and brought a refreshing sound to the indie mix in 2006.
The journey continued with each new release. There was the French connection in 2007 when Zach was inspired by the culture and moved to Paris for a brief period releasing follow-up LP, The Flying Club Cup. A border run followed in 2009 with a double EP, March of the Zapotec and Realpeople: Holland.
The first was partly recorded in Mexico with the Mexican band Jimenez and had a more South-American flavor to it than Condon’s previous efforts. The second EP Holland was credited to Condon’s old band name Realpeople and consisted of five electrotracks.
Like Paul Simon, Condon’s been criticized for being a cultural scavenger saying, “I was in a store that was playing NPR and I heard someone say ‘You can misunderstand the artist’s references and the place where he’s coming from, but you can’t mis-experience the song itself.’ I liked that. What it means to me is that people can moan about where the references come from, but if the song is catchy, that’s that,” he told Metromix.
Beirut’s latest offering Rip Tide feels ageless, as in the elegiac, horn-laden “A Candle’s Fire,” and the spare, piano-and-vocal showcase “Goshen,” in which Condon’s warbling tenor is put front and center, where it so clearly belongs. By making his voice and songwriting the star, Condon’s latest is something to celebrate.
Zach recently suggested his obsession with foreign music was a way to escape the monotony of teenage life in New Mexico admitting, “It was total romanticism and daydreaming as a kid. I felt like if I couldn’t live in different worlds, I might as well do something that sounds like it. I grew up in New Mexico, which was a pretty isolated place. You get wanderlust.”
Instead of discovering music from the internet – the technology wasn’t as prevalent 100 years ago when Al Gore discovered it – Zach heard a wide variety of music from the independent theater he worked at which played foreign films.
“I ran into music around the world through that. I think klezmer music was the first thing I heard, during a Jewish movie.”
Beirut Tour Dates:
09/28 Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
10/01 Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA
10/02 The Independent, SF, CA – SOLD OUT
10/ 04 Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
10/06 Warehouse 21, Santa Fe, NM
10/07 Convention Center, Santa Fe, NM
10/09 The Pageant, St Louis, MO
10/11 Royal Oak Music Hall, Royal Oak, MI
10/25 The National, Richmond VA
10/27 Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
10/29 Stubbs Waller Creek, Austin TX
11/09 Kentucky Theatre, Lexington, KY
11/11 Bogarts, Cincinnati, OH
11/13 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA