Show Review: Belle & Sebastian at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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From KCRW DJ Marion Hodges:

Following a rainstorm, a picnic on a lawn full of strangers, a screening of the film Trainspotting, and a seemingly endless gap between film and show, a sharp looking girl in a sharp looking Mod dress wandered onto the stage at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  She was teasing the crowd with the promise that Belle & Sebastian would soon appear.  Sure enough, they appeared moments later playing the song “Sukie in the Graveyard.” from the 2006 album The Life Pursuit. There was an instant acknowledgment from every single person in the crowd, that we were in for an even more exciting night than we could have anticipated.

The set was perfectly executed with fan favorites neatly interwoven between a few newer tracks. The sense of showmanship from everyone on stage was top notch.  But what sets Belle & Sebastian apart from so many of their peers is their ability to constantly surprise in the most subtle ways. I could assume from past experience that they would pull audience members onto the stage to dance at some point, but I couldn’t anticipate how oddly thrilling it would be to see a friend pulled onstage while 30 or so other close friends and I cheered him on.  I often think about how sharp and clever the lyrics to Belle & Sebastian songs are, but I couldn’t anticipate that I’d be replaying several of those over and over in my mind for the rest of the week as though they were more mantras than lines to pop songs.

More than anything else, however, Belle & Sebastian have the perpetual ability to make you feel absolutely certain that you are part of something. It’s not something that’s easy to define, but it’s just… something.  “Do something pretty while you can, don’t fall asleep.” goes one of the crucial lines to one of the evening’s biggest highlights “We Rule the School.”

Such a gloriously passive call to action, such a perfect summation to take from a perfect evening.

View the setlist here

–       Marion Hodges

Editor’s Note: I don’t have video from the event itself but this is their excellent new song “I Want the World to Stop”