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Bottles & Cans and Just Clap Your Hands

Beck 2Preach it my BROTHER! It’s a revival up in here. Can I get an AMEN?! I said! “CAN I GET AN AMEN?!” Beck’s gospel of #maddorkyamazingcoolfunk took place downtown last night. Beck was the preacher, and we, were his choir.

You know what? Let me start at the end. Yeah. Maybe that will help you grasp what went down. When they were finished, Beck & Co put up a yellow crime-scene tape across the stage. You know, the yellow “DO NOT CROSS” tape? Yeah. That one. And do you know why? BECAUSE A CRIME JUST TOOK PLACE. What crime? Being a musical genius. Damn.

Seeing Beck live is by far a must for anyone who likes music, or art, or just amazing things in general. Whether you are a diehard fan of this güero or just familiar with “Loser” and other hits, you will be entertained by everything that is going on. Young, old, child of the 90’s, or were born yesterday, you would have loved this show.

Can I describe for you how captive he held his audience? People were falling out of trees. FALLING OUT OF TREES. No. Really. I’m being 100% serious. People were climbing trees to get a better view of the stage (as quite often happens at every Twilight concert) and a girl fell out of a tree. Was she okay? Who’s to know. I’m not a journalist, I just review music. She got back up and was dancing… but that may have been from the shock.


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And as many fans of Beck know, the singer has two sides – the mellow Sea Change Beck…and funky whitely , Midnight Vultures Beck. If you are lucky, you’ll get a bit of both when you see him live. And Salt Lake was pretty lucky last night. Beck’s lovely new album, Morning Phase, is easily one of the Top 20 albums for 2014 (so far). It’s in the downcast-troubadour, melancholy quadrant of his identity. And based on that, you might have expected the whole show to feature his “Sad Beck” side. And you would be wrong.

_MG_0933Not only does he sing and dance and entertain you thoroughly, he’s witty and adorable… and he loves to talk about his Hyundai Accent.

Okay. NOW I’ll start at the beginning. The career-spanning set was a surprise — it was thrilling to see the Sea Change songs blasting through tracks that sound like they were concocted by the Dust Brothers in a science lab. They played it loose and messed with the arrangements — “Black Tambourine” with an extended drum intro, playing up the noise in “Soul of a Man”, and reworking “Hell Yes” with live funk drums.

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Beck is also one of our era’s shrewdest formalists, the sort of musician who can plunge down a rabbit hole of recorded history and set up residence for a while.  From egghead progressive-rock to Ramones-style thrash-pop, leavened with blue-eyed hip-hop, surreal gospel preaching and (yes) folksy melancholia, all of it woven together with impressive seamlessness.

Even though he’s well into his 40s, Beck’s music still steps in adolescent make-believe, as he invents his own world where superdorky translates to supercool.