For two days this week, Scottish indie pop band and heroes to many Belle and Sebastian headlined The Theatre at Ace Hotel bringing along with them the brilliant Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene. If this seems like a dream of a lineup, then that’s because it really is. As they say these days, the show really brought on “the feels”.
Kevin Drew opened with bandmate Charles Spearin and started his set with a quiet rendition of BSS song “Superconnected”. He followed it with “Body Butter”, one of my favorites from his album Darlings. He was charming as he made little jokes in between songs, but the room went real quiet and attentive when he moved to the piano and started playing a gorgeous and even more slowed down version of “Lover’s Spit”. Towards the end, he transitioned seamlessly to “Good Sex”. After his set, he went down to the audience to hug everyone in the front row (with one guy running all the way from the back just to get in on the action).
Soon, Belle and Sebastian plus an extra backing band, all 13 of them, were on stage. Frontman Stuart Murdoch was in high spirits and joked that the audience looked very similar to the audience the night before, saying “I can’t believe you’re back for more!” To be fair, many did attend the previous show as well. That’s just how hardcore some B&S fans can get. I probably would’ve done the same thing if I had tickets to both nights!
The crowd did not stay seated for long and by the time they got to third song “Like Dylan in the Movies”, many had already broken free and were dancing on the aisles. They played a lovely new song called “Allie”, presumably appearing in the new album they’re set to release next year. With fan favorite “If She Wants Me”, the dancing crowd had grown by the dozens. “I implore you to stay in your dancing mood for this next song,” Murdoch joked as he sat down on the piano to play the touching and slow “The Fox in the Snow”. This song, to me, embodies classic Belle and Sebastian and played live, it was even more emotional and beautiful and I swore I wouldn’t cry, but I got pretty damn close!
The show very quickly turned into a dance party thanks to Murdoch’s encouragement. After the show, we found ourselves at the after party being led to the rooftop pool by Murdoch himself and there we saw the rest of the band just casually drinking and chillin’ with friends who had come to see them. Full disclosure, though unnecessary since it’s pretty obvious: my love for this band goes back years and years. This night was just pure magic and they were even better than when I first saw them live. This is a definitely a band I would see again and again every time they’re in town. Run, don’t walk.