BECK GIVES BIRMINGHAM A COLORFUL PERFORMANCE

Despite his 90s anthem “Loser”, Beck is nothing short of a winner. With 5 Grammys in his arsenal, he has nothing to prove. In 2014, the singer-songwriter broke the internet when he ceremoniously bested Beyoncé and newcomer Sam Smith for Best Album of the year with his ninth studio album Morning Phase.

Four years later, the 47-year-old is back at with a new album and tour to match. Rolling Stone called the eleven-track record “his most straight-ahead fun album since the Nineties.” But how does it fare in the live format?

Last May, Beck brought his tour, which is in support of his 13th album Colors, to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex with New Zealand songstress Kimbra as his supporting act. The Alabama stop marked the singer’s debut in the Magic City and was one of many additional dates added to his US tour, which wraps up this September at the Hollywood Bowl.

Kimbra set the mood with her ethereal pop sound. The singer-songwriter, best known for her Gotye collaboration “Somebody that I Used to Know” kept her set-list fresh, boasting tracks “Top of the World” and “Human” from her recent album Primal Heart. Unlike the headliner, who utilized a stellar lighting system, Kimbra opted for a darker contrast, utilizing subtle color palettes.

Taking the stage roughly after 9 p.m., the multi-Grammy winner kickstarted his jam-packed show with the ultra-high-tempo 90’s jam “Devil’s Haircut before fast-forwarding to the 00’s with “Black Tambourine” and “Up All Night.”

The Magic City date, which fell on Cinco de Mayo, was a festive spectacle for the multi-instrumentalist, who cruised through his illustrious catalogue of tracks, even paying homage to Walmart yodeler Mason Ramsey with a cover of Hank Williams “Lovesick Blues” and Prince’s “Raspberry Beret.”  Despite his extensive discography, the alt-pop singer laced his nearly 30-song setlist with a bevy of fan favorites, including “E-Pro”, “Girl” and an audience-driven “Loser.” Backed by a seven-piece ensemble, Beck shared the show with his energetic bandmates, often including them in his stage-roaming choreography. The stage, complete with two risers, was a full-blown light spectacle, which matched the eclectic performer’s every-changing sound. Multiple light strobes shot across geometric shapes across the stage.

A skilled multi-instrumentalist, the genre chameleon alternated between the guitar, tambourine and his trusty harmonica. Throughout the night, he conversed with crowd and cracked a few jokes before attempting to sing a few songs that he admitted he forgot the words to. Despite the full room the headliner treated the concert hall like an intimate gathering.

Toward the end Beck brought Kimbra back to close out the show with “Colors”, “One Foot in the Grave” and “Where It’s At.” The two returned for a quick introduction of the band before launching into an encore medley of popular artists, which ultimately culminated into a final reprise of “Where It’s At.”

 

 

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