Written by Connor Lundy.
Praise Xenu that Beck Hansen has made his return to London for the first time in 70 years, his words, presumably exaggerated for comic effect. Out he comes in black suit and hat, every inch the funky hellfire preacher, throwing himself across the stage with reckless abandon from the word go. In fact the entire set-list is a smorgasbord of Beck hits with the audience seeming ready to combust during ‘Loser’.
The band themselves seem almost as excited to be there as the assembled throngs, and are on excellent form with James Brown slides, synchronised dancing and on stage hijinks a plenty. The chemistry shared is particularly palpable on ‘Black Tambourine’ and only increases as the set progresses, culminating in the band quite literally falling over one another with excitement.
This is the frat-boy idiosyncratic Beck of old but is soon replaced by the more introverted acoustic singer songwriter we have become accustomed to in recent years. If fact if any member of the audience were to choose the acoustic portion of the set for a tactical bar run; they could be forgiven for assuming that they were looking at a totally different act. Gone is the aforementioned ‘frat-boy’ silliness and in its place a more sombre contemplative Hansen, notably choosing a number of tracks from his most recent effort. To top this off Beck mesmerises the audience with Sea Change’s ‘Lost Cause’ which is no doubt one of the highlights of the night.
However the hijinks are not absent for particularly long with the band managing to scale even greater level of energy, much to the rapture of the Camden Roundhouse. This is increased further by the levels of farce brought in by the police tape that is rolled across the stage as the band play possum behind it. Luckily the bands untimely demise is short lived as they get back on their feet and launch into an electric ‘Where It’s At’ that includes snippets of The Stones and Rod Stewart Beck goes on to pose the question ‘Do You Think I’m Sexy?’ and it seems that the entirety of the Roundhouse would most certainly agree. All in all this is a brilliant night for both Beck and his cohorts. It is not every artist who is able to straddle humour and sensitivity to such a consistently high quality, yet Beck is not like every other artist. Tonight the Camden audience are witnessing a true individual and this is something they appear to be fully aware of.