herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Review

ROYAL HOSPITAL KILMAINHAM

"We brought some sunshine for you…" Cheers, Beck. Now, how about the both of you stick around for a while? Indeed, no-one could have predicted that the gifted Californian preacher man in the cowboy hat would, in his 44th year, pick up a Grammy for Album of the Year, least of all the man born Bek David Campbell (one for the pub quiz aficionados, that name).

A hip-shaking purveyor of lo-fi, west-coast stoner rock, Beck has played every role in a career spanning three decades, a dozen studio offerings and hundreds of marvellous shirts.

Last year's Morning Phase pleased the folk rockers in the audience - even if it pissed off Kanye West something rotten (the latter politely requested that he hand over the award to Beyoncé). Now, Beck is back in the premier league, headlining gigs in fields. Yep, there are thousands out to witness Beck storm through a scuzzy Devils Haircut and segue a crunchy Donna Summer hit into proceedings (I Feel Love, obviously). The dude is on form, and he wants us to know it.

As it turns out, Beck would happily swap the "deserts and dust" of California to stay up all night with the Irish. "I am falling in love with it here," he announces in between spontaneous bouts of hip hop-charged workouts. What a man, what a voice.

Such a busy concoction of textures and sounds shouldn't work, but it does so magnificently with Beck and a scintillating line-up of musical friends flexing their muscles every which way under a psychedelic paint-splash backdrop. Things turn techno, things turn folk - eventually, it all goes rock 'n' roll.

For Hell Yes, Beck asks us to wave our arms in the air like we're "so unaware" (nice line, that one). Cracking music-maker, cracking showman. Oh, and a triumphant airing of Loser lights a fire under everyone's feet.

In the end, Beck and his pals are on their backs, as a yellow crime-scene tape encompasses the stage. Nothing to see here - just a man and his band tearing up the rule book… HHHHI

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