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Belle & Sebastian – Colston Hall, Bristol 16/12/10

January 13, 2011

Before I tell you about the gig, let me just say, what a nightmare it was getting to Bristol for this. The last Thursday before Christmas and it appears everyone is trying to go late night shopping. It took nearly two and half hours to get from Cardiff, if the gig had been anything less than amazing I would have been pretty annoyed. Luckily, I walked out feeling like I would have happily sat in traffic all day to have seen tonight’s show.

I had only purchased my tickets the night before, thanks to the aid of Twitter and a friendly gentleman who could no longer make the gig due to illness in the family and having to look after kids. His loss however was my gain. I had some slight trepidation before making the journey as the band had cancelled their date in Leicester two nights previous due to ATP – Bowlie 2 which they had just played at and currated, taking it’s toll on them. Thankfully this was not the case tonight and they were at Colston Hall in Bristol ready to put on quite the show.

The Colston Hall might seem like a odd venue for tonight’s show when the Bristol Academy is right next door, but I have a lot of love for the Colston Hall. It’s a beautiful venue, and has fantastic acoustics. Belle & Sebastian aren’t exactly the sort of band that inspire crazy mosh pits, it’s usually gentle swaying at the best of times so a building with tiered seating in the general admittance area was nice. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to sit down, see perfectly and soak up the show.

The bands performance itself was lots of fun, and about as far removed from the first and only time I have seem them before, at Reading Festival. There was some great interaction between band members and the band and the audience. Lead singer Stuart and guitarist Stevie have a lovely back and forth, the kind which comes from being friends with someone for 15+ years. At one point Stevie winds up doing a spot on rendition of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ in the style of Elvis Costello. It’s little things like that which made this night to remember. Here’s band that can seamlessly swap between the downright depressing and the comical and that takes some considerable doing.

Another exchange consisted of having a young lady come on stage from the crowd in order to put mascara on Stuart at the correct moment during the song ‘Lord Anthony’, the young lady didn’t play ball and spent the majority of the song chasing him round stage trying to put it on before time with Stuart ducking and weaving trying to get away before finally conceding to her.

The set was a perfect mixture of songs new and old alike. It was in essence the cream of the Belle and Sebastian crop. A particular highlight included ‘Step Into My Office, Baby’ which sounded the best I’ve ever heard it with the brass section there to do their bit. This was also one of those rare shows that I could have gone home very happy without an encore as the band did such a through and excellent job before first departing the stage.

But, come back for round 2 they did and went out on a high before finishing the show and heading home to Glasgow to perform a number of homecoming shows.

Setlist:

I Didn’t See It Coming

Dirty Dream #2

Step Into My Office Baby

A Century of Fakers

I’m Not Living In The Real World

Piazza, New York Catcher

I Want The World To Stop

Lord Anthony

Sukie in the Graveyeard

The Sun Has Got His Hat On

Read the Blessed Pages

(I Believe In) Travellin’Light

Dog On Wheels

Write About Love

The Stars of Track & Field

The Boy With the Arab Strap

If You Find Yourself Caught In Love

Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying

Sleep the Clock Around

Encore:

Judy & the Dream of Horses

Legal Man

Me and the Major

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