Things were frantic when I approached the desk to pick up my ticket for Beirut at the Black Cat. Several employees crowded around talking loudly, a girl stood near tears because she had bought a bad ticket from a scammer and couldn't get into the show, and some drunk dude was yelling. I had already had a pretty crummy day (only slightly improved by a hug and a shot of Jameson from my friend Matthew), so I really was just trying to move it along.
When I finally got up to retrieve my ticket it turned out I had bought two. Oops. With the show starting within the next 15 minutes, and no one around to call and join me, I said fuck it, and handed the extra ticket to the sad, ripped off girl. Sometimes, it's just best to pay it forward.
With the load of the day slowly lifting, I found my way to the bar, found some friends and headed into the belly of the crowd. We had a great spot, four or five rows back stage left, and could see most everybody. There were four microphones stationed in a row up front, a drum kit in the middle, and a stand-up bass sitting aloof and alone. The band clamored on stage just after 10pm and took their places in front of the microphones, with lead singer Zach Condon front and center. To the left was the bass player, and a 70's porn-star-look-alike playing the Accordion. To the right were two brass musicians who seamless transitioned from song to song playing a Trombone, Tuba, Trumpet and a French Horn. If I knew more about these instruments, I might even suggest there was a Flugelhorn too!
Zach took lead vocals and mostly stuck to playing the Ukulele, though he also he also played several of these brass instruments throughout the show. They played a full and lovely set, complete with standard hits like "A Sunday Smile" and my favorite, "Postcards from Italy" (see below). Truthfully, it is hard to keep track of all the titles as often the songs blend together. This doesn't mean Beirut doesn't perform well live, they are a beautiful band (well, not in looks), and the Accordion adds a certain old world French feel to it all. Check out the video below and you'll see what I mean.