By Sydney Portigal
On a Wednesday evening, I, along with what seemed to be an entire community of young professionals, cool dads, cool dads with beards, trendy moms, and a sprinkling of some indie teens entered the Buckhead Theatre for Beirut’s concert. For some reason (because I’d like to think I’m musically “in touch”) I surprisingly had only “discovered” Beirut about three weeks prior to this event.
Zach Condon, lead singer and founder of Beirut who is responsible for their haunting and melodic sound, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He traveled to Europe at seventeen to explore world music. He brought this influence home with him when recorded his first album Gulag Orkestar (which was written in a booklet with the back and front photos originating from a library in Leipzig, Germany) in his bedroom. He later re-released the album with Beirut’s first EP, Lon Gisland at the end of 2007. Thus, Beirut was officially born.
I listened to three out of their five albums one Sunday evening, enjoying the musicality of the live instruments and beauty of the lyrics. However, as I stood in the crowd next to a man attempting to keep his beard beer-free and a couple salsa dancing, my Spotify trained ears were not ready for how powerful they were live.
You might have had a moment—while reading a book, having a good conversation, traveling, eating good food, laughing, crying, etc.—where something just clicks, falls into place, or simply creates a feeling of peace. That is the feeling that I had at this concert. There is absolutely nothing like the experience of live instruments, especially in this particular concert, since in any given song the band could be using a rotating roster of drums, percussion, ukulele, trumpet, flugelhorn, bass, trombone, sousaphone, glockenspiel, piano, violin, French horn, keyboards, accordion, cello, guitar, violin, viola, and a multitude of other instruments I’ve never heard of and have no idea how to pronounce.
“Gibraltar,” “No No No,” and “Santa Fe,” three of my favorite and what I believe to be some of Beirut’s most beautiful songs, exceeded all my expectations. The atmosphere that the instruments were creating made the lyrics seem that much more impactful and meaningful. Cool dad with the beard even put down his beer during “Perth” and “At Once.” If that’s not an indication of how good the music is, I don’t know what is.
Maybe you’ve never heard of Beirut, only listen to EDM, claim to not like “indie” or “chill” music, or even somehow hate instruments. Listen anyway—I guarantee that after one song you’ll find some sort of beautiful, relevant experience within their lyrics and instrumentals. You won’t regret it.