Belle and Sebastian, Julien Baker: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian graced Liverpool with their contagious melodies at the Philharmonic Hall and Getintothis’ Lauren Wise was there to bask in their Glaswegian glory.

It’s not often you’ll walk into a gig while the support act is playing and be able to hear a pin drop.
That, however, is the effect Julien Baker had on the crowd which was patiently waiting for Belle and Sebastian.
So hushed was the atmosphere that any arrivals trickling in were promptly shushed, tutted at and soon victims of the great British eye roll.
Fog swirled around the soloist on the grand stage creating an enchanting atmosphere matched by hypnotic vocals.
While it may have been too melancholic for some, there’s no denying that it certainly captivated the audience – despite anticipating the more preppy songs Belle and Sebastian would soon offer.
With each new song another layer was added, be it by demonstrating her talents on piano, making use of a loop pedal or even with the introduction of her violin-playing friend who added a classical twist which flowed beautifully beneath each song.
The entire set stunningly enchanted us all, topped with Julien’s powerfully captivating, not to mention beautiful vocals.
It’s not too long before a team of people descend on stage, constituting the make up of Belle and Sebastian.

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Starting with a slower tune, they took the audience to their world of twangy guitars and instantly recognisable vocals with handfuls of luring vocals to finish. Their opener was also accompanied by a number of 50s style videos projected against the back of the stage as they made themselves the soundtrack of the evening.

They counteracted their opening slow tune with the ever boppy I’m A Cuckoo and everyone soon got in the mood for an entire evening of Belle and Sebastian bliss as frontman Stuart Murdoch encouraged the audience to join in, going as far as to leap onto the balcony while singing and dancing at one stage.

Surprisingly it wasn’t just the older songs that gained the biggest audience reaction. While many may dread the moment their favourite band turns on the new material, Belle and Sebastian slid into Poor Boy with electronic ease and turned the sound up a notch as Sarah Martin took the lead vocals and left Stuart and Stevie to the harmonies.

It may be less lyrically complex than their earlier works but that didn’t diminish the results, as the crowd took note of Stuart’s invitation to dance alongside on stage.

After a performance of Sweet Dew Lee – declared to ‘as much fun as a wedding on the Wirral’  by frontman Stuart, there was a short space for chat in which the band discussed their love of Liverpool and how those from the Wirral are ‘odd but good’.

Stuart also touched on a topic that would surely have been the subject of conversation in everyone’s house recently, the passing of Ken Dodd, even sharing some jokes by him – “Everyone’s eating bent bits of wire. It’s their staple diet”.

Once the chat was over with it was onward and upward for even more crowd involvement. If we thought audience participation was at a height during Poor Boy, The Boy With The Arab Strap showed us how wrong we were. Half of the Philharmonic Hall were up on stage and dancing alongside the band, making this possibly one of the happiest gigs ever.

Finishing on Another Sunny Day, everyone was left in high spirits after a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable gig, with the queue for merch longer than the one for Heebies on a Saturday.

Images by Getintothis’ Martin Waters





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