After a week of Twitter-based hints, Beck announced a somewhat spontaneous intimate gig at London’s Omeara yesterday (October 8th), and thus the scramble began. In the UK to support his upcoming record ‘Colors’ and perform on Later... with Jools Holland, Beck’s decision to play such a small-scale show was a nice touch and welcome treat for the many adoring fans that traipsed to South London for the cash only gig, eager to catch a glimpse of his latest album alongside the usual smattering of career-spanning hits.
With the band having only arrived earlier that day, a finely groomed, Fedora-toting Beck opened the set with an acoustic flurry of songs, largely comprising material from his critically acclaimed ‘Morning Phase’ as well as ‘Lost Cause’ from 2002’s ‘Sea Change’. A subtle start to the set before the band exploded into a particularly raucous rendition of ‘Devil’s Haircut’ from classic album ‘Odelay’.
The cynics assuming this would just be the new record played out in full couldn’t have been proved more wrong as the LA troubadour indulged the crowd in a selection of his finest hits traversing all three decades of his musical output, from the groovy strut of ‘The New Pollution’ to the introspective bombastic indie of ‘Paper Tiger’ via the weird Spanish-psych of ‘Qué Onda Güero’.
Towards the end of the set, Beck finally reverted to some of his new material from the eagerly-anticipated ‘Colors’, an album that the musician has been teasing for the best part of two years now. The first of the two tracks taken from ‘Colors’ was the previously released ‘Dreams’, a track the audience were all too familiar with and bellowed its catchy chorus back at the band, of whom seemed noticeably taken aback and rather pleased at the reception of their new(ish) material. The singer described his latest output as “if a Michael Jackson record went wrong, with Keith Moon on drums and fuzz guitars for some reason”, before giving fellow new track ‘Up All Night’ it’s live debut.
The new was swiftly followed by two setlist stalwarts, with Beck introducing 'Guero’s ‘E-Pro’ by declaring, “this one’s for the head-bangers”. This was then followed by possibly the singer’s biggest song, the slacker-rap anthem that is ‘Loser’, a track rapturously received by the audience and saw them roar the song’s refrain “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me” long into the night. The chance to see an artist of the stature of Beck in such an intimate surrounding is always a special experience. Needless to say, 23 years after he initially broke through in 1994 with ‘Loser’, Beck’s enduring and ever-evolving legacy lives on.
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Beck will release new album 'Colors' on October 13th.
Words: Rory Marcham
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