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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mp3s: Beirut live in Cambridge, MA

The band known as Beirut arrived in the Boston area during what can best be described as a perfect storm of blog-fueled buzz. The May release of their debut disc, 'Gulag Orkestar', on Ba Da Bing; the music bloggers who gave it an early blessing; the certain taste-dictating website who backed them up; and Beirut's close ties with NMH & aH&aH guy Jeremy Barnes, who mans the accordian on tour; all these factors combined to sell out their recent show at Brooklyn's Northsix, and they've already sold out an upcoming Bowery Ballroom date.

None of this could have been expected when Boston-area booking maven Stacie Slotnick and her Critique of Pure Reason set up the June 24th show at the tiny Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA. A small art-space, it formerly held the Zeitgeist Gallery, and the closer that Saturday night approached, the more the buzz (and potential crowd size) built. Stacie smartly added a second show, leaving the band alone on the bill and allowing them two quick sets back to back. Her best laid plans still shut out dozens of hopeful attendees on that sweltering Saturday night... I'd never seen such a line anywhere in Inman Square, down the block and around the corner into the residential neighborhood behind the main drag (fortunately the unlucky latecomers could take comfort in some scoops of Christina's ice cream).

The show had other strikes lined up against it besides the small size of the space: The PA system was on the fritz, so there was a major delay in the start time of the first set; the improvised vocal setup (through a keyboard speaker) caused some occasional feedback, and left singer Zach Condon's excellent voice moderately muffled; the lack of even a slight stage lift meant that many in the crowd could barely see the band, myself included. And I'm not so short. I found myself raising my camera, snapping a shot, then bringing it back down to look at the lcd screen in order to find out what the band looked like.

And yet, despite those many obstacles, it was a great night. It all came down to the songs and their delivery. I bought 'Gulag Orkestar' after hearing the first couple net-shared songs, including 'Postcards from Italy'. Liked the disc enough at first, but found myself losing interest about halfway through. Not enough variation in the gypsy-flavored orkestrations, lots of songs and sounds blending together. But I'd heard such good things about their shows, and of newer material that was a cut above, so I took a chance (and what a chance it was... I sadly missed Asobi Seksu across the river the same night). Glad I did, though, as the new songs were far more memorable, the album material much improved in a live setting. The natural sound of the eight-piece band didn't need amplification in the tiny room, and I almost wish the vocals didn't either... but better to hear Condon's voice a little muddy than not at all.

Here's Beirut's first set of the night, in its entirety...

As mentioned, a few of the songs above were written since the recording of Beirut's debut disc, and as I read elsewhere, the song 'Ederlizi' is actually a Goran Bregovic song from the movie 'Dom Za Vesanje (Time of the Gypsies)'. Set-closer 'Siki Siki Baba' is a cover as well, originally by Kocani Orkestar.

Some Beirut-related links...
  • Their MySpace page.

  • Another review of the Cambridge show over at Muzzle of Bees.

  • Papermag interviewed Zach Condon back in May.

  • BrooklynVegan chatted with both Zach & Jason a couple weeks back, and posted some pictures from the Northsix show.

  • Zach made a guest-post over at Said The Gramophone on June 21st, and wrote a bit about some of his musical loves.

  • RySpace has a few words and mp3s from Beirut's June 17th appearance at Williamsburg's Sound Fix Records.

  • Plenty of Beirut clips on YouTube.
  • Beirut returns to the Boston area on Saturday, August 26th at the much-roomier Middle East Downstairs (wisely upgraded from PA's Lounge). Tickets go on sale this Thursday, July 13th at the Middle East box office, or if you must, through Ticket$^%&$&#.

    the fine print: If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.

    On deck: Stand-out Boston live sets from the Futureheads and Camera Obscura. Well worth a little waiting.


    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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