Though writing a lengthy-yet-irrelevant introduction that works as a commentary on Bedouin Soundclash's rising popularity in their native country is tempting, the fact that I did exactly that in my review of their latest album seems to make that completely unnecessary. Instead, it allows me to move right into a poorly pieced together recollection of the events that unfolded the night I saw them in Victoria, BC. How does that sound?
The show had only one opening act, a neo-soul songstress who goes by the name of Zaki Ibrahim. Despite the fact that I had no prior knowledge of her or her sound, she proved to be an extremely talented vocalist and performer, probably earning many new fans among a crowd that was composed primarily of college-aged women and guys looking to sleep with college-aged women. She was joined on stage for most tracks by another female performer whose name I didn't catch and can't seem to find anywhere on the Internet, but needless to say she also performed superbly.
After a set of seven songs or so, the headliners took the stage. The boys of Bedouin Soundclash took the stage and opened with "Until We Burn in the Sun (The Kids Just Want a Love Song)" from their latest disc, Street Gospels. The band played a long set, comprised mostly of songs from Street Gospels and Sounding a Mosaic, with only one song I did not recognize (which I am assuming was from their debut Root Fire, a disc I'm not familiar with). The set list was pretty much a no-brainer, consisting of their singles and the catchier, more upbeat tracks from their recent albums (although "St. Andrews" was sorely missing).
The band's performance was dead-on, all of the songs translating exceptionally well live. Jay Malinowski's vocals retained their laid back and choppy feel, while bassist Eon Sinclair opened the set with some grooving dance moves which helped start the crowd to join in. Stage banter was kept to a minimum, mostly only used to thank the crowd for coming, as Malinowski put it, "even though you could be seeing Spoon instead," which led to a lot of confused looks in the crowd as to who or what Spoon could be. Malinowski also gave a short rant of "fuck the critics, this is for you" before breaking into a fun mash-up of covers, sandwiching together elements of the Clash's "Rudie Can't Fail" and the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated," the latter of which made every Guitar Hero nerd in the audience extremely excited. The band also covered part of Ben E. King's classic "Stand by Me" before launching into their megahit, "When the Night Feels My Song." The band returned for an encore, performing "Living in Jungles" and "Nothing to Say," during which the band encouraged a soccer-style cheer that radiated throughout the building.
Overall, it was a very solid show, and a great sendoff to the band, who have only one more Canadian stop before starting a long string of American and European dates.
Set list (roughly):
- Until We Burn in the Sun (The Kids Just Want a Love Song)
- Shadow of a Man
- Jeb Rand
- Money Worries
- Gyasi Went Home
- Rude Boy Don't Cry
- Rudie Can't Fail (The Clash cover) / I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones cover)
- Walls Fall Down
- Bells of 59
- 12:59 Lullaby
- Stand by Me (Ben E. King cover) / When the Night Feels My Song
- Living in Jungles
- Nothing to Say