Friday 22nd June 2007
The Village

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Beirut - I can't remember when I heard of Beirut. He came into my iTunes randomly. He was used in some video I edited. I sort of liked him and bought a ticket to his show. I knew he was popular overseas. I knew he was interesting. It seemed to make sense.

Sitting in work, it was raining too hard to go home. I waited, ate porridge for dinner, watched Frasier, left, wandered around the Green, through Camden Street, up to the top of Harcourt Steet. Emma was delayed. I hung around and watched the Hipsters stream in. Ran into Bernard. Ran into the 66e and his girlfriend. I always run into them. Usually in the exact same random curve of a street.

We went in. Support had just ended. We wandered through to the front, slipped around a little, took a space at the metal bar when a couple went off somewhere. People really shouldn't abandon the metal bar.

Mr. Condon came out and checked his mic position. Then he did a little air ukelele to check the ukelele mic position. Then he went back off again. No-one seemed to really notice.

A while later the band came out. They looked pleasant. There were many of them. Many different instruments. Trumpets and horns, all beat up. A bass saxophone too. Ukeleles a plenty. An electric bass. A violin player. A drummer whose head was obscured by a cymbal for the entire show. A big accordion (120 bass).

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Do you know where my accordion is?
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Things started with a lack of plectra. Zach found one*. Thus began an evening of listening to trumpets without the PA, watching Mr. Beirut stagger and sing, watching the bassist dance and sing, watching as the whole band throw out piece after piece of lost and re-found music.

The only musicians I know that sound like this are the eastern european buskers we inherited a few years ago. The big guy (no music no life) that I always gave money to - I haven't seen him for a while. The other mixtures of beaten-up brass and accordians who used to play more than they do now.

Subs were heavy for a while. Sound was very front-row. We were catching the monitors from the stage, the instruments floating past the microphones, bits of the main speakers, lots of the subs. It was somewhere between what they heard and what everyone else heard. It sounded good. There were a few moments when Zach walked to the very edge of the stage and his trumpet pointed directly as me. That's hard to beat.

There was an encore. Then another little encore. A real one. He played "Hallelujah". He forgot the words. Was happy when reminded. "Of course", he exclaimed. Then he would continue to play. He put something special into the ending. When he left the stage he left with the slow walk of someone savouring something. I might be wrong about this, but it's an educated guess. He may just have been slightly wasted...

That's a little bit of what happened. It was trumpets, ukeleles, spit shaken from mouthpieces, lost plectra, heat, lights being turned down, coloured LEDs by the drum kit, people wandering about the stage. The bassist danced a little - after the show I said hello to him, then he wandered off down Harcourt Street. Lots of other things happened. I got a setlist. There were eight musicians, but only two lists got out. Bad People talked during the gig. Tripod still has very noisy air conditioning.

Tonight - Blanche.

* Later they would come close to having none. The bassist would ask the crowd. Some would be found (after a gap).

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