The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
TUL's Take: Belle & Sebastian/Broken Social Scene/Ted Leo at Merriweather

It was a perfect summer evening for the music of Ted Leo, Broken Social Scene, and Belle & Sebastian at Merriweather this past Saturday. After tailgating in the parking lot for about an hour, we headed over to the pavilion 15 minutes into Ted Leo's extremely short half-hour (!) set. Leo and the Pharmacists sounded OK but their sound was definitely not suited for an amphitheater environment, especially one that was barely a third full during their performance. Then again, do any of his live shows ever get rave reviews? He played a couple of new songs that were pretty decent though.

Broken Social Scene took the stage just 15 minutes after Ted Leo's set ended and completely floored The Upstate Life. This was the first time we've ever seen them live, but despite the absence of Emily Haines and Feist, BSS put on one hell of a performance. Their sound translated incredibly well for such a large venue and was perhaps one of the best openers we've seen since Stars opened for Death Cab way back when. Speaking of Stars, Amy Millan was in attendance that evening and graciously lent her vocal talents to "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl", arguably the highlight of their outstanding hour long set. We can't wait to seem them perform at Lollapalooza.

At a little before 9pm, headliners Belle & Sebastian kicked off their 90 minute show with "Fuck This Shit" from their Storytelling LP, something we'll just flat out assume that a lot of the "youngsters" in the audience probably never even heard of. Unlike their 9:30 Club shows a few months ago, the band was accompanied by four additional string players. I personally feel that the quartet did not make that much of a significant difference as they unfortunately weren't very audible during most of the set. What I did like was the selection of older material culled from the B&S catalogue, specifically "Sleep the Clock Around" and "The Boy With The Arab Strap", the latter of which was an excellent choice for a closer. Once again, no love shown for "Legal Man", but something tells that they never do that song live anyway (someone prove me wrong, please). Overall the show was underwhelming, but this is coming from someone who was at their 9:30 show and deemed it one of the best concerts I've attended thus far this year, so my expectations were somewhat high for their Merriweather performance. It essentially comes down to the fact that B&S are simply a group suited for more intimate venues as the energy they had harnessed inside the 9:30 Club just wasn't present in Columbia that Saturday night. Setlist via 9:30 Forum:

Fuck This Shit
Dog On Wheels
Dirty Dream No. 2
The Model
Sukie In The Graveyard
Don't Leave The Light On Baby
If She Wants Me
Jonathan David
We Are The Sleepyheads
Lord Anthony
For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea
If You're Feeling Sinister
Funny Little Frog
If You Find Yourself Caught In Love
Summer Wasting
I'm A Cuckoo
The Wrong Girl
White Collar Boy
Sleep The Clock Around


Judy And The Dream Of Horses
The Boy With The Arab Strap

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