Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beck, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger @ The Pageant

Photo courtesy of John Ottenlips
After a six year album gap, Beck is on tour again. I was fortunate enough to experience the show at The Pageant in St. Louis this past wednesday.

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is the creative outlet of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. I felt that the opening band sounded a lot like their name. Their songs were psychedelic and heavy, mystical and fierce. Lennon was an unexpectedly good soloist.

Beck and his six-piece band opened with "Devil's Haircut," dancing and smiling around the stage like a little kid who gets to play rockstar. They toured the entire Beck catalog with a stunning twenty-four song set.

It was obvious that the entire band was having even more fun than the audience. I think that's one of the key elements of a great concert. Playing the harmonica on "One Foot in the Grave" to the beat of the audience clapping is another one. And "E-Pro," which had the pit thrashing and pumping their arms, ended with the band members murdering each other while Beck put up crime scene tape across the stage.

The defining characteristic of a Beck concert is the way the genre seems to change seamlessly. The show went from hip hop ("Novacane") to folk ("One Foot in the Grave,") dance ("New Pollution,") country ("Blue Moon,") psychedelic ("Chemtrails,") punk ("Minus,") and even weird soul ("Debra.") Beck shows that good song-writing transcends genre.