Beirut, Live In Concert No No No is the first album that Zach Condon and his band of globally minded explorers have released since 2011, debuting many of its songs at Brooklyn's Bell House for NPR Music's First Listen Live.

Live in Concert

Beirut, Live In Concert

How does a band return from a recording hiatus that could have permanently displaced it from the audience's eye? If you are Zach Condon and Beirut, you just go about your business and pick up where you left off three years earlier. The group's First Listen Live show at Brooklyn's intimate Bell House on a rainy September night, a concert debuting many of the songs from the brand new No No No, its first album since 2011, showed that Beirut works through its obstacles. Maybe it helps when the initial idea behind a band is ahead of the curve to begin with, no?

When Condon's Beirut first came to prominence in 2006, it emerged from Santa Fe with a fully conceived, pan-global folk sound unlike any indie sensibilities popular on the day. Zach's trumpet and flugelhorn playing was informed by local Mexican mariachi horns, his engagement with the Roma brass bands of the Balkans, and modal jazz changes via a percolating bossa nova; he favored timeless instruments (ukuleles, accordions) and images, to the rush of the modern; and the songs his quavering tenor delivered, also traveled the old continents. Live, the group grew into a formidable sextet, heavy on keyboards, horns and harmony, a world onto themselves.

At the Bell House, Beirut ran down its entire career before a sold-out audience, and the songs from No No No, the band's fourth studio, fit snuggly alongside the older material, even as it heralded directions new and familiar. "Perth," for instance, featured a touch of the Memphis soul energy, with Ben Lanz's trombone adding a brassy bump; "Fener," a song about a neighborhood in Istanbul, is built around the motorik beat interplay between Aaron Arntz's keyboards and Nick Petree's drums, before dropping down into a great g-funk slink, guided by Condon's Moog. So seemingly apart from Beirut's musical environment, yet, here they were, a natural part of it, making the audience sway endlessly. The hiatus, it seems, simply made full hearts grow fonder.

Set List

  • "No No No"
  • "Scenic World"
  • "Elephant Gun"
  • "As Needed"
  • "Perth"
  • "Santa Fe"
  • "Postcards From Italy"
  • "August Holland"
  • "The Rip Tide"
  • "The Shrew"
  • "Fener"
  • "Serbian Cocek"
  • "At Once"
  • "After The Curtain"
  • "So Allowed"
  • "Pacheco"
  • "Gulag Orkestar"
  • "In The Mausoleum"
  • "Flying Club Cup"

Credits

Director: Mito Habe-Evans; Producer: Saidah Blount; Videographers: Christopher Farber, Mito Habe-Evans, Lani Milton, A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Editor: Mito Habe-Evans; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann; Special thanks to The Bell House.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Better Oblivion Community Center performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 3, 2019 (Amr Alfky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Better Oblivion Community Center

Tiny Desk alums Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers surprised us all with their stunning collaboration this year as Better Oblivion Community Center. Together they radiate joy at the desk.

Theodore performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Theodore

The music of Theodore is dark and transformative, with the kind of spare elegance you can hear in Sigur Rós or Pink Floyd.

Gary Clark Jr. performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 1, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Gary Clark Jr.

These three songs, from Clark's incendiary new album This Land, roar with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.

Weezer performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Weezer

Performing unplugged, the band forgoes its usual meticulousness in favor of a shaggy, entirely acoustic mix of new songs and '90s-era deep cuts.

Alejandro Escovedo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 16, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Alejandro Escovedo

The veteran rocker and a backup band from Italy play songs from their album The Crossing, chronicling an American Dream of rock and roll and Beat poetry.

Meg Myers performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 5, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Meg Myers

Myers replaces her album's roaring electric guitars and electronics with a pulsing string quartet, piano and brushed drums — and uncorks a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

Aaron Lee Tasjan performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Aaron Lee Tasjan arrived in an ascot and mustard-colored shirt, sporting red, round sunglasses and mutton chops. It was a fashionable nod to the psych-pop and rock sound he brought to the Tiny Desk.

Pedro the Lion performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 13, 2018 (Claire harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Pedro The Lion

No matter how dark or disastrous, there's always been an undercurrent of grace to the music of David Bazan. He returns to his Pedro the Lion moniker for this memorable Tiny Desk performance.

Back To Top