Dreaming of Horses

     On August 22, I attended a Belle and Sebastian (or BaS) concert at the Berkeley Greek Theatre. I just want to start the review by saying that I thought it was absolutely brilliant! The only thing that could have potentially ruined the show for me was not knowing who the opening band was and, thus, how well their performance would be? As it turns out my fears were not entirely necessary. The name of the band on this occasion was, Bright Eyes. And while the music was quite good, lead singer Conor Oberst sang like the most horrible interpretation of an American Robert Smith. Think about that and you now have in mind his singing style. But the reason I enjoyed myself is because he writes the worst lyrics humanly possible. For example the lyric, “and stop counting on that camera/ that hangs round your neck/ because it won’t ever remember/ what you choose to forget.” Those horrible poetry lyrics remained from song to song and got so bad that whole songs would give me a fit of uncontrollable laughing. But moving on, once BaS got on stage the concert became a celebration. Once the first song kicked in everyone started dancing to the music. They didn’t focus on one particular album but instead worked from their entire catalogue of albums and EP’s. Although they did concentrate on their newer works it was a very diverse set list. Stuart Murdoch on lead vocals was quite talkative with the crowd and even Stevie Jackson would pipe in with a joke or two. They also both danced a lot on stage. And while they are not good dancers there was such intention and the tunes are so communicable that the audience, myself included, wanted to sing and dance along with them. Speaking of dancing, Murdoch was quite the example of politeness and would always calmly answer questions people yelled and try to fulfill requests. One person requested to dance on stage and during, “Judy and her Dream of Horses,” he allowed about thirty people on stage. That was probably the climax of the show seeing over two dozen people all physically and spiritually echoing on stage the emotion of the crowd. The sentiment of people who never met each other brought together by the talent of a couple of musicians and dancing without inhibitions as a result of it. To me this was exactly what a proper concert should be. It had a broad selection of their music, conversations with the audience, at least one encore, enough variations in the music to make it different, not too much deviation that it sounds like a poor rendition, and most importantly the impalpable feeling of being a part of something necromantic. Next time you hear that a little Scottish group called Belle and Sebastian is in town, I suggest that you go see them. You never know but you just may like them. And no matter what, I promise you a good time.