The official site of author Ed Lin.

Belle & Sebastian, Live at the Williamsburg Waterfront

Posted by on Oct 5, 2010 in Ed, Music | 0 comments

And Stuart said, “Let there be light.”  And there was light.

I can’t remember for certain the last time I’ve been to a show that I knew every song performed, apart from the artist’s yet-to-be-released album.  Maybe Grant Hart?  And now I was seeing Belle & Sebastian, a band whose songs I really love.  I know the words, man!

Along with punk and metal, I do enjoy a lot of twee.  Hell, I love the stuff Orange Juice did for Postcard (collected on Ostrich Churchyard and The Heather’s on Fire) along with the Pastels, the Vaselines and Camera Obscura.

But, man, B&S songs have worked their way in deep into me. I think they would show up in my hair roots.  Hell, I’ll stop slobbering over the band and just review the show from this point on.

Remember that big monsoon that was going to drown New York City with a foot of rain and 60-mile-per-hour wind?  It was supposed to happen Thursday, Sept. 30 — the same night that Belle & Sebastian were going to play the outdoor stage at the Williamsburg Waterfront.

Suffice to say it didn’t happen.  In fact after that afternoon not a drop of rain fell until the next morning.  The wind had kicked up some, but not enough to take off a slightly muggy feel the the evening.

The members came out under the cover of pulsing blue light and kicked into “I Didn’t See it Coming,” the first song on the new album, Write About Love, set for Oct. 12 release. “Oh, what a great job,” singer Stuart Murdoch sighed at the end.  His witty remarks — never as deadly dragged out as Robyn Hitchcock — are entertaining segues  of the show.  They need them because Bobby Kildea, Mick Cooke and Stevie Jackson switch around from guitar, bass and trumpet.  At another point, Murdoch pointed out the hugeness of the stage, noting that it “looks like the set of a sitcom.”  About the supposed monsoon, he quipped “We have good luck with weather.  We have God on our side.”  Then he immediately withdrew the comment.  “I should never have said that,” he said sheepishly.  “I’m tempting fate.”

Stevie Jackson took lead vocals for “I’m Not Living in the Real World” but not before instructing the crowd how to “Woo ooh ooh ooh” for the chorus.  It’s a fine song that fits in with the 60s-feel typical of a Stevie Jackson song.

“I Want the World to Stop,” another new song, fit in well with the wide-ranging set list.  After it, Murdoch threw out some signed toy footballs for the kids in the audience.  “It gets a bit boring when you’re a kid,” he said about 12-and-unders being dragged to the show by parents who are fans.  “Even if the kid doesn’t get it, give it to the kid,” he admonished grown-up souvenir-seekers.

And Stuart said, “Let there be strings.”  And there were strings.

Murdoch also took a stand for Obama and said the U.K. would take him if we didn’t like him because he’s “great.”  “Anyway, I’m preaching to the converted,” he said in response to the applause and introduced “Sookie in the Graveyward” as “a song about an apolitical hussy.”

Belle & Sebastian even had the guts to pull out a B-side to the Jonathan David single, “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner,” which of course is collected in the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation album.

Murdoch brought up several audience members to clap along to “There’s Too Much Love” and “The Boy With the Arab Strap.”  He bestowed medals on the clappers but ran out, so the tall lanky guy got only a hug and a promise that one would be mailed to him.

There really is too much love. And haze.

Murdoch screwed up the acoustic guitar intro to “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” and gave a grimacing look to an amused Jackson.

For the encore, Murdoch introduced each member as they began playing “Me and the Major.”  Apart from Kildea, Jackson and Cooke, there were big cheers for drummer Richard Colburn, violinist and vocalist Sarah Martin, keyboardist and Powerbookist Chris Geddes and celloist Sarah Wilson (a new official member?).

For the end of the show, Murdoch encouraged the audience to help sing “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying,” because “I usually mess up the words pretty bad.”  Just one encore but there were no grumbles in the crowd as the show tipped near the two-hour mark.  There was nothing else Belle & Sebastian could have possibly done to make it a better show.

Set list: I Didn’t See It Coming/I’m a Cuckoo/Step Into My Office, Baby/Like Dylan in the Movies/I’m Not Living in the Real World/Piazza, New York Catcher/I Want the World to Stop/Lord Anthony/Sookie in the Graveyard/We Rule the School/Another Sunny Day/The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner/Write About Love/There’s Too Much Love/The Boy With the Arab Strap/If You Find Yourself Caught in Love/Judy and the Dream of Horses/Sleep the Clock Around

Encore: Me and the Major/Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *