Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers

Show: Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers
Headliner: Belle & Sebastian
Openers: The New Pornographers
Location: The Concourse At the SF Design Center in San Francisco, CA
Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2006
2006 Show #: 4

The Concourse (by which I will refer to the venue which I attended last night, despite it's long name) is an odd place. It's difficult to even find it's address online, and even ticketmaster wasn't able to readily tell me that it's located at 7th and Brannan. In the end, it was simple to get to, and I had been there before awhile back. The building is a long warehouse effectively. It's got the width of a smaller club like Bimbo's, but then is easily 3 or 4 times the depth. It means if you're not careful, it's very easy to be very far away from the band. That didn't end up being a problem for me but I'd have rather this show had been at the Fillmore. But I digress.

Coming into this show I had pretty high expectations. These two bands are juggernauts of indie rock. And no opener to boot. I was so excited that even though my friend had to wait outside because the people with his ticket hadn't arrived yet, I went in without him (I already had my ticket).

The New Pornographers came on at 8pm sharp and played a 1 hour set. The start and stop time were so on the hours that I was utterly amazed. And besides a goof up where Carl Newman couldn't think of the words to "It's Only Divine Right," the show went smoothly. What you'd expect from professionals. They hit songs from each of their 3 discs. The only song I wish they had played was "Letter From An Occupant." The biggest problem I had was that Neko Case wasn't there. In her stead was a woman that went unintroduced. I heard rumors that Neko had blown out her voice. The replacement woman was good, but I did miss that I didn't see Case.

Belle & Sebastian came on at 9:35pm and played until 11pm, and then did a short 3 song encore. Once again, another very professional act. They rocked the house, and I had a good time. Though I did hear snide comments around me. They started off by limiting themselves to just "If You're Feeling Sinister" and "The Life Pursuit" for the first 6 or 7 songs, but then started playing off the rest of their catalog. I recognized songs from "The Boy With The Arab Strap," "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," and the "Books EP." Their rendition of "Your Cover's Blown" was quite enjoyable. Another enjoyable moment was that while playing "Piazza, New York Catcher" and mentioning the areas of San Francisco, leading singer Stuart Murdoch pointed in the direction of those landmarks. Murdoch correctly pointed towards the Stadium and towards the Tenderloin as appropriate. I was impressed and pleased. Mostly the set was more or less a reproduction of their album tracks, but played with enough groove to make it an enjoyable experience.

Overall, while this concert did not disappoint, it didn't rock my world either. Overall it was a VERY good concert, but because of my high expectations it was unable to exceed them. But that still meant I had a really fun night.


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