Manchester Apollo Theatre
2nd July 2008
If people think about what a gig by Beck is going to be like, they might think of puppets or elaborate costumes or suits. They might also consider ditzy electronic beats and an electronic brass section, as he is well known for creating unusual yet highly funky arrangements.
It is strange then to see Beck turn up on stage looking more like a taller, thinner Kurt Cobain with no sign of any mini-me style puppets. His more laid-back appearance is accompanied by a full-on, classic rock concert with hardly any breaks in-between the energetic songs.
Starting with “Devil’s Haircut” from his seminal album “Odelay”, it is obvious that he just wants to bring the house down with some classic rock tunes. Nothing seems to stand in the way of him as he does this, hardly ever addressing the crowd and concentrating on playing as best as he possibly can, particularly through “Minus”, perhaps one of his hardest rock moments.
He played many songs from his new, critically acclaimed album “Modern Guilt”, which are short but fresh and still carrying the Beck insignia of unpredictability. It was definitely interesting to hear more of the new material before the album is released, and current single “Chemtrails”, a 60s inspired blast of psychedelic rock, sounded better live than it does on record.
A lightshow is the last thing on anyone’s mind, as the basic lights and simple black background stand in contrast to his previous incarnations, just adding to how much of an old-school show it really was.
You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get from a Beck album but one thing’s for sure: you’re always going to have a good time at one of his concerts.