Sunday, March 13, 2016

Beck impresses mightily at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas

When I had last caught Beck at Coachella in April 2014, the ageless singer-songwriter-guitarist was performing on the main stage in front of 100,000 music fans in Indio, California, fresh on the heels of the recent release of his stunning disc Morning Phase (released in February 2014, the disc would go on to win Album of the Year and Best Rock Album honors at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015). 
Beck in concert at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas.
Photo: Kim Kinsler

Fast forward to March 10, 2016, and here I was positioned relatively close to the stage at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas for a decidedly more intimate performance featuring the six-time Grammy-winning artist. And while there are those who swear there are no sure bets in Vegas, I was pretty sure I was in for a good night courtesy of Beck Hanson

The atmosphere was upbeat when Beck took the stage at 9:15 p.m. and began a set that would run for more than 90 minutes. Backed by a superb four-man band, Beck kicked it all off with a hard-charging take on "Devil's Haircut" that built up to a hard rock finish; the troupe then got all funky with the equally propulsive follow-up "Black Tambourine." 

"This is a sort of rain check," Beck said after finishing up "Black Tambourine," acknowledging vocal problems had forced him to cancel a January 2016 date and move it to this night.

He put down his guitar and sang and showed off some dance moves and played a bit of tambourine on "The New Pollution," and then mixed up the mood even more for the melodic "Think I'm in Love" (that was paired with a bit of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love") and dance-minded "Mixed Business" and "Gamma Ray." 

Beck performing in Las Vegas.
Photo: Kim Kinsler

And while many in the crowd were in a definite mood to party all night, Beck's well-known eclectic spirit is one where countless styles of music were offered. Fans of the artist's Americana-styled forays got to hear fantastic versions of the sparse "Sea Change," psychedelic-tinged "Paper Tiger," "Say Goodbye" (featuring some nice banjo textures courtesy of Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.) and the acoustic-styled gem "Blackbird Chain," the latter featuring Beck's sterling harmonies with lead guitarist Jason Falkner.

Beck also broke out his 2015 single titled "Dreams" (set to be released on his forthcoming as-of-yet untitled 2016 album). A dance-rock standout, "Dreams" also included a big sing-along and infectious groove showcasing Beck's masterful vocals and genre-mashing spirit.

Blending rock, power-pop, hip hop, rap, soul, folk rock and more along the course of a 22-song set, Beck proved to have a solid sense how to close things out with a two-song encore featuring his break-out single "Loser" and a freewheeling "Where It's At" where he introduced the members of their band as they played bits of several other far-flung tunes including the Rolling Stones' "Miss You," "Axel F" (the electronic theme from 1984's "Beverly Hills Cop" movie) and Devo's "Whip It."

Beck was masterful in set at Brooklyn Bowl Las
Vegas on March 10, 2016. / Photo: Kim Kinsler

Setlist for Beck at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on March 10, 2016
Devil's Haircut / Black Tambourine / The New Pollution / Think I'm in Love (including a bit of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love") / Mixed Business / Gamma Ray / Go It Alone / Jack-Ass / Blackbird Chain / Soul of a Man / Hell Yes / Que Onda Guero / Sissyneck (paired with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean") / Lost Cause / Say Goodbye / Paper Tiger / Dreams / Girl / Sexx Laws / E-Pro
ENCORE: Loser / Where It's At

Review: Robert Kinsler

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