Thursday, July 18, 2013

Belle and Sebastian In The Great Outdoors

17 JULY, 2013
In the midst of a string of summer festival dates, Scottish indie-pop legends Belle and Sebastian made their only California appearance at the Santa Barbara County Bowl Wednesday night. Coming out of Austin, flight issues delayed their crew, but with the help of local pros, things came together, and a magical night was had. L.A.'s own Best Coast nailed down the opening duties on an evening presented by Santa Monica public radio powerhouse KCRW.
Almost three years have elapsed since the last time we caught up Belle and Sebastian at the Matador Records celebration in Las Vegas, and they remain as sharp and charming as ever. Backed with horns and a string section, Stuart Murdoch led the band through their back catalogue, to the delight of a sparse, but fervent audience. Highlights included "I'm A Cuckoo",  and "Piazza, New York Catcher", both from Dear Catastrophe Waitress, and an epic "Stars Of Track And Field", from If You're Feeling Sinister. "Dirty Dream Number Two" from The Boy With The Arab Strap provided the first opportunity for audience participation, (below),

All told, it was a delightful evening outdoors with what might be the ultimate bedsit band. From here, the tour pushes on to Salt Lake City, and a spotlight slot at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. Hopefully, the touring gods have had their fun, and the band's travels will be smoother.
Best Coast, no strangers to Santa Barbara, graduated to the big stage of the Bowl, and seemed right at home. Their tight set rested heavily on their debut album, and gave a sneak peak of their upcoming EP in the form of a new song, "Fear Of My Identity", (below), that fit in perfectly with the girl-group garage sound of their earlier days. While Bethany Consentino fielded the audience love and Seinfeld queries, it was Bobb Bruno, taking care of business off to the side, who remains the band's secret weapon.

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