Friday, March 7, 2014

Arthur Beatrice – A Concert Review

     Bottom Line Concert Review – Arthur Beatrice “tightly” performs a strong setlist with an attention-demanding stage presence. What more can be added?
          There is always some concern when the trip to a concert is made with high expectations. Can the band meet those expectations? Is it fair to the band to think they might/should? Well, four of us made the trip to San Francisco to see Arthur Beatrice at The Chapel. Afterward, we were in agreement that Arthur Beatrice did not disappoint. The band delivered and the sound system at The Chapel was at its best (it’s a beautiful venue, but the high ceilings make sound mixing troublesome).
     Yes, the expectations were high. The song “Grand Union” was at the top of the list of this blog’s “Best Songs of 2013.” Digging a little deeper, “Grand Union” includes our favorite song feature of 2013, wherein
a.) after an attractive instrumental portion of the song (from the 2:11 mark to the 3:19 mark),
b.) multiple band members jump in with an increased energy harmonization (3:20),
c.) that is soon led by the guitar into a five-second energy swell (3:30),
d.) before the instruments and vocals just as quickly downshift (3:36).
      Someday, we’ll be able to listen to the song without halting all other activity in anticipation of the song structure that starts at the 3:20 mark, but that day won’t be soon. That was an accurate statement even before witnessing Arthur Beatrice “nail it” in concert, but the eventuality was pushed back in time by last night’s performance.

     Importantly, the appreciation for the performance at The Chapel did not hinge upon “Grand Union.” Arthur Beatrice had the concert attendees in their pocket long before they finished the setlist with “Grand Union.” They played most of the songs that are on their debut album “Working Out,” which was released this week. Each song was performed with a tightness and precision that would indicate a band with worldwide touring experience. In reality, this is the first U.S. tour for Arthur Beatrice. Stay awake Austin and SXSW, they are headed your way after a short stay in Los Angeles.
      The members of the band are Orlando Leopard (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, organ), Ella Girardot (lead vocals, keyboards, organ) and brothers Elliot (drums, backing vocals) and Hamish Barnes (bass, backing vocals). In addition to “Grand Union” and the sometimes sultry dancing of Ella (see the embedded video below), we particularly enjoyed “Carter” and “Midland.”

     “Grand Union” by Arthur Beatrice

     “Carter” by Arthur Beatrice

     “Midland” by Arthur Beatrice

     “Singles” by Arthur Beatrice, recorded at The Chapel by someone else who attended (thank you Mr. Green).

      There’s Talk was the opening band. They are a San Francisco trio with music that fits within the Indie Ambient genre, which is not within our “wheelhouse.” So, our high level of appreciation for the performance came as a surprise to each of us. The members of There’s Talk are Olivia Lee (vocals, synths, electronics), Kellen Balla (electronics, guitar, vocals), and Young Lee (guitar, vocals). Interestingly, in listening to the Soundcloud offerings of the band, we would not have concluded that their live sound is “Ambient.”


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