Belle & Sebastian – The Tivoli

Belle & Sebastian – The Tivoli

Written by Harry Bain

Photography by Claudia Ciapocha


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It was a cold and wet night at the Tivoli as Scottish indie-rock greats Belle and Sebastian were set to wrap up their Australian tour. A rather varied crowd packed the Tivoli’s downstairs as Melbourne four piece Totally Mild graced the stage at 7:45. They proved to be a fantastic support act, playing until 8:30 with their head bopping tunes accompanied by a very clean mix as I’ve come to expect from the sound guys at the Tivoli.

Belle and Sebastian took to the stage at 9pm, opening with You’re Just A Baby from their renowned 1996 debut album Tigermilk. The show was full of energy from the very beginning and it was amazing to see that there were eight people on stage, all doing their own thing. The band consisted of guitarist and lead singer, Stuart Murdoch; guitarists, Stevie Jackson and Dave McGowan; bassist Bobby Kildea; vocalist and violinist Sarah Martin; keyboardist Chris Geddes; drummer Richard Colburn as well as a trumpeter named Andrew, that would appear for a few songs during the show as well as a woman who occasionally played keys and percussion but who I did not recognise. She may not have been a usual member of the band but kick me if I’m wrong.

It was impressive to note as well that the band would often run around the stage between songs, swapping around instruments, which they would each play faultlessly, demonstrating their remarkable talent as multi-instrumentalists. They did just this before their second song I’m a Cuckoo which saw many guitars trading hands and had Murdoch ditching his altogether, instead serenading the audience, microphone in hand.

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After We Were Beautiful, whichfeatured a great duet between Murdoch and Martin, the band took a break to thank Brisbane. Murdoch pointed into the audience and seemed to recognise someone that had been at the show the night before, an indicator of how dedicated some Belle and Sebastian fans actually are.

Murdoch jumped around the stage during Step Into My Office Baby and then announced that they wanted to play one of their newer songs, Sweet Julie. This track sounded more modern with it’s dominant, cascading synths and punchy bassline. Half-way through, the band starts jamming out and it’s obvious they are having a great time up there.

An audience member climbed on stage and handed Murdoch two beers before Sukie In The Graveyard which had everyone moving. Afterward, photos of a blow up doll, a 1960s transportation map of Brisbane and spanner crabs flashed up behind the stage as Murdoch discussed the band’s time in Australia. He goes off on a tangent but the audience loves it. No doubt the man has charisma, I could listen to him talk all night.

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A quick song from The Go-Between’s Robert Foster was a nice surprise, appearing on stage completely out of the blue to play a song. He still sounds great and the band seemed stoked to play with a Brisbane musical legend, Murdoch claiming that he wish he had a bridge named after him.

The crowd went wild as the hoppy guitars and jumpy bassline of The Boy With The Arab Strapbegan. People started to pile onto the stage and dance with the band; at one point there was two dozen or so people on the stage, a sea of different coloured moving t-shirts and the odd sight of a band member now and then behind the crowd. The dancing continued and intensified into The Party Line and then calmed down for I Didn’t See It Coming which was to be their last song of the night.After thanking the crowd and leaving the stage the band returned for an encore with The Fox in The Snow and Lazy Jane Painter Jane.

 

It’s clear from the get go that the band is extremely well practiced. Not one single mistake was made, not one step out of line. It was as if we were witnessing a well oiled machine; an incredibly tight band that has had the last 22 years to get this good. It was a fantastic show, a true demonstration of talent from everyone on stage. Would highly recommend showing this band some love.

Written by Harry Bain

Photography by Claudia Ciapocha


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