SXSW Showcase Reviews

Live Shots
Photo By Gary Miller


Emo's Main, Wednesday, March 14

"I haven't been onstage for a while," a slight and grinning Zach Condon admitted. Standing there under the spotlight with only a ukulele shielding him from the packed house, the 21-year-old crooned as if he were alone in an empty bedroom. When the other members of Beirut joined him for a waltz – flute, keys, accordion, guitar, drums, trumpet, violin – the rock show became a three-ring bar mitzvah. A matador raised his hands toward the heavens in triumphant praise, and "After the Curtain" begged for even more jubilation. As the band sang along to Condon's moving modern spirituals, more instruments joined the fray. Melodica took center stage above tenor sax; tambourine cried. Shredded cassette tape covered "Postcards From Italy"; "Gulag Orkestar" brought primal tears to Eastern European eyes. Closer "Elephant Gun" was the icing: Condon closed his eyes and leaned back on the stage-right pole, eyes closed, trumpet blazing. This is the face of the future, sweaty brow, beautiful.

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