Photos by Rozette Rago
Beirut’s music live can make even the stiffest bodies want to dance. Playing the first of two nights at the iconic Hollywood Palladium, Zach Condon and the rest of the noticeably smaller band went straight to the much loved hits, beginning their set with “Scenic World” followed immediately by “Elephant Gun,” both from 2005’s Gulag Orkestar. Perhaps the set list was crafted as a quick nod to the past before they ventured into the more indie pop sound that came with 2011’s The Rip Tide and even more so with the band’s latest release No No No.
The crowd was made up of extremely devoted fans in the front and adorable dancing couples in the back. Condon inspires almost boy band levels of fandom amongst both men and women — it was funny hearing a grown man yell, “I love you, Zach Condon!”
The show was a good reassurance to the longtime fan that Beirut’s back, albeit with some slight changes to sound and dynamic. That’s all part of natural growth. If anything, the set list presented to us how Condon as a musician has matured from an eager, experimental teenager into a more sophisticated, a bit more restrained adult. I’m excited to see where this leads him next.
Side note: Is there anyone happier than drummer Nick Petree? He’s just a ball of joy to watch! Also, I was a little sad about Kelly Pratt no longer being part of the band, but I hope that means new Bright Moments music soon!
Local singer-songwriter Julia Holter opened the show with her hauntingly atmospheric music. Her performance was simple, mainly highlighting a voice solid and clear. She just released her excellent album Have You In My Wilderness this year, and I feel like it won’t be long until we see her headlining big venues on her own.