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Concert Review: Beirut gets a taste of L.A.

Brenna von den Benken
Arts Editor

The repulsive smell of a blunt being passed around by four people sitting in front of me on the north terrace didn’t put a damper on the circus-like performance that was delivered by Beirut.

The inconsistent sprinkles of rain in 66 degree weather at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at the outdoor Greek Theatre added to the challenge of attempting to enjoy the night without any obstruction.

The $4 water bottle I had to buy at the venue snack bar because the $7.50 mini portion of chili cheese fries left me dehydrated may have annoyed me a bit.

However, the exaggerated expenses were disregarded after frontman Zach Condon and the rest of his band stepped on stage with a crowd of merely less than a thousand welcoming them with loud applause.

Before the show, one feat to overcome was parking in the wilderness near Griffith Park.

Stacked parking on unpaved ground may not sound too bad.

However, if you had seen a deer and coyote chase only ten feet away from you, your heart might have hurt a little, accepting the brutal knowledge of reality and nature.

The show must go on.

The sounds of the trumpet, horn, drum, keyboard and vocal ensemble corresponded to the multi-colored flashing spotlights and over-sized twinkling Christmas lights that were hung from north and south ends of the dome-shaped stage ceiling.

The opening act of the show teased audiences as French chill-wave performer, Laetitia Sadier, sang her French songs with quiet instruments accompanying her meek, sleepy voice.

Sadier’s performance added a warm touch to freezing audiences waiting an hour and 15 minutes for the headlining act to come on.

“It’s great being in LA,” Condon said after their opening song “Elephant Gun.” “All these houses on hills and s***.”

The crowd was already wild, swaying in their assigned stadium-like seats to the gypsy style orchestra; some inappropriately throwing their legs and arms about with a cup of beer in their hand, splashing on the cement ground.

As much as I would have despised someone acting obnoxiously as such on any typical day, I felt a connection to these strangers.

Their enjoyment of Beirut eliminated all of my prejudices against them; in pure form, they were fans just like myself and we were all sharing a love for the same sound, the same feeling of natural ecstasy.

“While we were in the car, we literally saw Charlie f****** Sheen drive by in the Batmobile,” trumpeter Kelly Pratt said after another song. “We’ve seen some crazy things in New York, but that guy is just crazy.”

“They’re so charmingly cute,” attendee Valerie Bueno said. “I just want to put them in my pocket.”

As they performed a variety of some of their older songs from past albums, Beirut peppered the show with some of their newer singles from their latest album, “The Rip Tide.”

Fresh one-month-old songs of which fans were already singing along to word for word.

After a “thank you very much L.A.” closing to their performance, the audience gave a standing ovation with a consistent applause that some may have mistaken to be stormy raindrops slamming against the floor.

An encore was obviously demanded, so the band came back out with what did not seem like much of a choice and played an additional five songs.

Finally, everybody was overly satisfied and the end of the show was definite, yet lasting.

Brenna von den Benken can be reached at

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