Belle And Sebastian
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An incredibly tense Stuart Murdoch shuffles onto the stage with his accompanying Belle and Sebastian family and greets the audience like his first school assembly. "Hello... We're gonna play some stuff first... then the album... then we'll see what happens." His nervously meek demeanor, even before the night has begun, is an indication of how important tonight is - not just for the band - but for the hard-core, no, soft-core indie mafia seated in the audience.
The coy figure of Murdoch takes to the piano and plays the opening chord to 'Slow Graffiti'. Then promptly forgets the first line. It's a fitting start to the evening, with the trademark B&S live mistakes making their shows ever-more endearing. Yet more apologies from Murdoch who giggles to himself, then moves on. Stevie Jackson's mod-boy get-up and accompanying ridiculous dancing get the indie kids shaking through an unexpected, but overwhelmingly appreciated synth-laden rendition of Tigermilk's 'Electronic Renaissance'. The modest start to the evening suddenly seems forgotten as the true focus for the night begins.
The release of If You're Feeling Sinister in 1996 introduced to those not caught up in the Britpop battle of the time to something far more special. 'The Stars of Track and Field' builds with more confidence and power than ever and you can't help but feel that Belle and Sebastian have grown up, matured and evolved. The addition of a complete string section adds a richness and new life to the album, staying true to the original, but glorifying what is often an overlooked album in the grand scheme of the Belle and Sebastian story.
The lyrics to 'Seeing Other People' seem to ring through louder than ever tonight, "You take a lover for a dirty weekend, that's ok"; words now proudly shouted, rather than shyly suggested on the album. But B&S fans don't have sex, I thought they just held hands and cuddled? The Laurel and Hardy-esque banter between Murdoch and Jackson highlights how far they've progressed and Murdoch seems a little overwhelmed by it all, reminiscing of times past, and even his ex-girlfriend and band mate Isabelle, gets a nod tonight. "I do miss her," proclaims Murdoch, before launching into 'Get Away From Here, I’m Dying'. There's a clear sense of unity between the band tonight and by the close of the album, Stuart invites the kids that were dancing at the back to join them on stage, before confessing "I'm glad that's over" at the end of 'Judy and the Dream of Horses'.
The standing ovation that follows, stays upright throughout the five-song encore. 'Dog on Wheels' initiates the side-stepping, followed by screams of elation for the opening keyboard glory of 'The Boy With The Arab Strap'. By the monologue at the end, even the uber-chic no-sweat fashion students are dancing in the aisles. 'If You Find Yourself Caught In Love' closes the evening, leaving all and sundry with that warm feeling of a lovely afternoon tea with an amazing slice of carrot cake. All that is left to be said is that this needs to happen again.
'Another Sunny Day'
'The Loneliness Of The Middle Distance Runner'
'The Stars Of Track And Field'
'Seeing Other People'
'Me And The Major'
'Like Dylan In The Movies'
'The Fox In The Snow'
'Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying'
'If You're Feeling Sinister'
'The Boy Done Wrong Again'
'Judy And The Dream Of Horses'
'Dog On Wheels'
'The Boy With The Arab Strap'
'The Wrong Girl'
'I'm A Cuckoo'
'If You Find Yourself Caught In Love'_
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