Beirut - gig preview

  • The List
  • 1 November 2007


Thoughts of the opposite sex, soft drugs and shoplifting tend to occupy the mind of your average 16-year-old drop out, but New Mexico dreamer Zac Condon was no normal teen. Upon prematurely ditching education, he, his ukelele and trumpet headed across the Atlantic to indulge romantic notions of ‘Old Europe’, inspiring some enchanting sounds.

After holing up in Paris and discovering Balkan gypsy music, he returned to his Stateside bedroom in 2006 and crafted an album under the moniker Beirut: Gulag Orkestar, a woozy blend of neo-Eastern European and indie folk whose tracklisting reads like an InterRailer’s scrapbook: ‘Bratislava’, ‘Brandenburg’, ‘Rhineland (Heartland)’. A second fantastic long player, The Flying Club Cup followed, again seeing Condon pine for ‘Old Europe’, albeit with a strong Gallic influence and a grand chamber pop aesthetic which rendered him as a kind of junkshop Jacques Brel or Rufus Wainwright after one too many absinthes.

There’s perhaps something slightly naïve about the now 21-year-old’s scattered, misty-eyed visions of the old world, most of which sound like they’ve been learned from arty black and white movies rather than real bohemian travels, but it hardly matters. (Malcolm Jack)

Arches, Glasgow, Wed 7 Nov

Beirut and Daughter

Imagine Rufus Wainwright influenced by East European folk music rather than opera and musicals for an idea of the brilliance of Beirut, aka Santa Fe musician Zach Condon and chums.

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