You could tell what kind of a show it was going to be 3 hours before the doors even opened. Outside, a few stone cold kids stood shivering on line. Their hope? Get through those restrictive doors by any means necessary. A sold out show meant not all of them would make it. But if by chance a few did, a fantastic night of music featuring Brooklyn's own Beirut awaited them.
Zach Condon would choose to begin Beirut's set with a simple "Good evening everyone", diving immediately into the set, to the rapturous applause of the hundreds in attendance. Using an impressive variety of instrumentation (stand-up bass, accordion, trumpet, trombone, french horn, euphonium, and Condon's signature ukulele), the band played a batch of tunes that appropriately ushered the audience to a variety of places around the world. With "Cherbourg" Beirut took the attendees to France. "Gulag Orkestar" sparked a quick trip to the Balkans. During "The Shrew", a song from Beirut's brand new EP March of the Zapotec, Mexico became the destination of choice. They also dabbled in a track called "My Night With a Prostitute from Marseille"; this one from Zach Condon's Realpeoples'Holland EP.
At the end of their full set, Condon would be forced to tell the still hungry crowd, "You've bled us dry at this point"; a statement that would hardly deter the crowd from demanding more. Two encores later, the love affair between Beirut and the fans in attendance was complete. They ended the show with a cover of a dancy old Brazilian song, written by Ary Barroso called "Aquarela do Brasil" ("Watercolor of Brazil"); a lighthearted way to send the happy crowd off into the cold streets of Brooklyn indeed.
This a new song, slash really, really old song, because I think I wrote this when I was seventeen, so enjoy it. It's fun to play it again. Another rose wilts in East Harlem And uptown, downtown, a thousand miles between us She's waiting for the night to fall. Let it fall, I'll never make it in time Another rose wilts in East Harlem And uptown, downtown, a thousand miles between us She's waiting for the night to fall. Let it fall, I'll never make it in time Another rose wilts in East Harlem, and uptown, downtown A thousand miles between us. She's waiting for the night to fall Let it fall, I'll never make it in time. Another rose wilts in East Harlem And uptown, downtown, a thousand miles between us She's waiting for the night to fall. Let it fall, I'll never make it in time And I'll let it slide. I could wait all night In a falling rain I soaked in a lie. And why don't I I could wait and find And I'll write it slow in a written reply And why don't I I could end that sigh And I wanted to write and fall to the night And I lied and told that I want it slow. I can want it slow and written louder Oh lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lie, oh Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lie, oh Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lie, oh Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lala lie lie lie Lie, la da da da da "The Shrew. " She wasn't ever obliged To lift me a buckle or rise. And once the flies covered her eyes The pain she no longer disguised. Windows light where I rest inside Never to ignite. There was once a time beside It holds each one in light 'til the market left dry How long she's been by my side, but at last, the stable's retired That was a song called "The Shrew" we did down Mexico way, and this is one we did far, far away from Mexico. It should be obvious. Well, I've been so tired One child, I wait for room to spare. I can't wait, child, and ride It's all an empire long beheaded. I am grateful roaming And so I long for your beacon riverside. Where I rest tonight Round up like the bloodhounds I can't sell forever. Lonesome full surrender Looking down, round up like the bloodhounds I came and saw friend. I know we're bound to end this way Tough and down, round up, like the bloodhounds I can hear the sound Autumn never lands, like the bloodhounds Like the bloodhounds, I can hear the sound. All that for miles around it Ta lo alo lo lo Lo lo lo alo lo oh lo lo The lines are on board. It's quiet offshore But the wind blows. The children are here But the women, they stare from the windows See the lawns outside, groomed green lawns Oh, how they glow. And I spotted you there Curlers in your hair, on the telephone And I, well, I'll move for you. Yes, I, well, I'll move for you Oh, I, well, I'll move for you. Yes, I'll move for you Years spent round on the floor as the maid sweeps dust And leaves from the back door. My heart could have been yours Within dreams we're free, but you'd always ask for more So I'll move for you. Yes, I, well, I'll move for you Oh, I, well, I'll move for you. Yes I, I'll, I, I'll move for you And so long, mistress sings So long, that I can't wait anymore. Lo loy la, wait no more So long, mistress sings. So long, my fate has changed It's been deranged So long to these kite strings. So long, I've been saved before, la la I've been saved once more. I call upon my daring I call upon, my fate has changed. It's been deranged, oh Lord And we believed her then, oh. And we believed her then, oh, Lord And we believed her then, oh, Lord. And we believed her then, oh Lord And now outside you see her eyes in the sky And I, I won't mind what you decide to swear by And now outside you see the waves in her eyes And I, and I won't mind what you decide to swear by And now outside you see the waves in her eyes And I, I won't mind what you decide to swear by And now outside, I see your eyes meet the sky And I, I won't mind, I kept you here tonight And I believed her then, oh. And I believed her then, oh, Lord And I believed her then, oh. And I believed her then, oh Let's call this a lullaby. After this we got to go home, yeah? So lo, doy. Oh, lo. Oh, lo doy. Oh, lo doy They called it night. Yes, they called it night And I called it mine. They called it night Yes, they called it night. And I called it mine Uptown, the street's in a calming way. And outside is warm as a bed with a maid And I find it's all our waves and raves that makes the days go on this way Oh, ya la la la ya. Oh, yada Oh, ya da da ya. Oh, yada I heard the sad sound of words. Spoken from a beak of a wise old bird Uptown, the streets are kept afloat. And that girl never leaves me alone Oh, yalalie lie lie. Oh oh ya lie Oh yadada la lie Oh, lord He means well, saying, I've got stories of wine, superb And of course my childhood, forks and knives And a hospital bed, where I turned my life over and over again Brazil, where hearts were entertaining June We stood beneath an amber moon And murmured softly someday soon, someday We kissed, we kissed and clung together. Then, tomorrow was another day The morning found me miles away. Now, when twilight dims the sky above Recalling thrills of our love, there's one thing I'm thinking of I will return to old Brazil We'll always be available for Bar Mitzvahs and weddings. Good night everybody, thank you!
One of 2006's most unexpected indie success stories, Beirut combines a wide variety of styles, from pre-rock pop music and Eastern European Gypsy styles to the alternately plaintive and whimsical indie folk of the Decemberists to the lo-fi, homemade psychedelic experimentation of Neutral Milk Hotel. At the heart of this sonic hybrid was a teenager from Albuquerque, NM, a fact that made Beirut's debut album, Gulag Orkestar, all the more surprising. Something of a musical prodigy, multi-instrumentalist Zach Condon began making one-man D.I.Y. bedroom recordings in his early teens; while conducting interviews several years later, he claimed to have recorded an entire album of 1950s-style doo wop material and a collection of electronic pop songs inspired by the Magnetic Fields. (Indeed, Condon's dolorous vocal delivery and low, somewhat shaky pitch sound directly inspired by the Fields' Stephin Merritt.)
After dropping out of high school, Condon claims to have traveled through Europe at the age of 16, in the process becoming exposed to the Balkan folk and Gypsy music that's at the heart of Gulag Orkestar. Back home in Albuquerque, Condon crossed paths with fellow New Mexican Jeremy Barnes, formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel, whose own albums as A Hawk and a Hacksaw share similarly ethnographic interests with Condon's new material. With the help of Barnes and his A Hawk and a Hacksaw partner, Heather Trost, Condon recorded the songs that would make up Gulag Orkestar largely on his own, playing accordion, keyboards, saxophone, clarinet, mandolin, ukulele, horns, glockenspiel, and percussion along with Barnes' drums and Trost's cello and violin.
After Barnes gave an early version of the album to Ba Da Bing! Records label head Ben Goldberg, the newly christened band Beirut was signed to the New Jersey-based label and Condon moved from Albuquerque to Brooklyn, where he put together a floating collective of part-time bandmembers along the lines of Broken Social Scene for live performances. Following the release of Gulag Orkestar in May 2006, critical approbation quickly moved from the smallest blogs to mainstream media outlets that pegged Condon as a one-man cross between Jeff Mangum, Conor Oberst, and Sufjan Stevens. The EP Lon Gisland followed in 2007, leading up to the full-length The Flying Club Cup later that year. In 2009 Condon released the double EP March of the Zapotec/Holland. The latter featured six electronic tracks recorded at home under the pseudonym Realpeople, while the former included six tracks recorded in Oaxaca, Mexico with the Jimenez Band, a 19-piece group from Teotitln del Valle. - allmusic.com