buttonBeck @ NHK Hall (25th Mar. '09)

Still One Step Ahead Of His Audience?

      Beck seems to be getting tireder and tireder of playing ironic dance music. He already looked a little fatigued on his Guero tour, which I caught at Fuji Rock Festival 05. But that show (the one with the dinner table percussion set piece) was quite spirited and elaborately choreographed compared to the one I witnessed at the NHK Hall in Tokyo. This show had little momentum or seeming commitment from the performers. It could have been a rehearsal where no one gets into character but rather merely mimics being in character so as to save energy, stopping dead at the end of a half-hearted "I wanna defy the logic of all sex laws" to tell the band "okay, this is the part where I'm going to do the ironic dance we talked about, uh…let's see if I can remember….oh yeah, step 1, left, and uh…well, I'll get it down for the show"

Beck      Maybe I should give him a break; he could have been jet lagged. And it's tough to do irony across cultures and languages. So much of his schtick is a riff off of particular aspects of American life; even if they get it on some level, East Asians are not immersed in the culture in which the sentiment of "I quit my job blowing leaves" resonates. I mean, he cut his performing teeth on the notion of trying to baffle and anger his audiences, but after 20 years it's probably hard to put his heart into it if he thinks the audience will like him, but for the wrong reason. Hell, he'd probably LOVE to be booed again, but it's sure not going to happen here.

      But Beck is and always has been two performers. The other one is mellow and heartfelt; after spending 45 minutes or so entirely on Odelay, Guero, The Information, and Modern Guilt, he finally got to this part of the show and traded in irony for beauty. With selections from the great Sea Change and the mellower parts of some of his other albums (and rarities too, like "Ass Hole"), he finally became engaged with what he was doing. Not transcendent, mind you, but it was good stuff nonetheless.

Beck      Much as I love "Loser" and "Debra" and "Devil's Haircut" and all the rest, I have always loved this the best. I even have a special "mellow Beck" playlist on my iPod. Mellow Gold's "Black Hole" and "Nobody's Fault But My Own" off of Mutations (neither of which were played here) still give me chills every time I hear them. Tonight I learned that I need to add Beck's cover of "Everybody Has to Learn Sometime" from the film Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind to my collection (and playlist). He ended this section with "Chemtrails" off of Modern Guilt, which made me realize for the first time ever that Beck could be an emo rock superstar if he wanted to. Imagine that; the exact opposite of ironic dance music.

      The show started with a strange 'opening act' right out 1993. A mumbly man dressed in all black did 'magic tricks' in which no magic was performed (i.e., he moved around on stage holding things like cards and black hats and ropes that are often used in magic tricks) along with a shirtless-man assistant. The whole thing seemed calculated to baffle or enrage, but frankly it seemed pulled off with all the lack of commitment that Beck's own irony was. Seeing it before the show I thought it was surely a sort of meta-meta comedy ironically making fun of/nostalgically throwing back to the irony of those halcyon flannel-shirted days. But after the show it just seemed of a piece with the boredom-at-taking-the-piss attitude of the entire spectacle. Maybe in the end Beck really did baffle me. And maybe that's what he wanted. But if he's looking to commit to something, I'd say stick with the beautiful.

-->photos or review (JPN) on the 25th @ NHK Hall

report by kern and photos by hiroshi

The featured photos are from the show on the 25th @ the same venue...
==>top page : JPN / ENG

buttonmag files : Beck

buttonphoto report (09/03/26 @ Zepp Tokyo) : photos by izumikuma
button早春のベック (09/03/25 @ NHK Hall) : review by nob, photos by hiroshi
buttonphoto report (09/03/25 @ NHK Hall) : photos by hiroshi
buttonStill One Step Ahead Of His Audience? (09/03/24 @ NHK Hall) : review by kern, photos by hiroshi
buttonphoto report (09/03/22 @ Zepp Osaka) : photos by takumi
buttonClose encounters from his seventh mind: (07/04/16 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by michael, photos by izumikuma
button春は曙、あるいはベック (07/04/16 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by nob, photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (07/04/16 @ Nippon Budokan) : photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (07/04/09 @ Zepp Osaka) : photos by ikesan
buttonphoto report (07/04/08 @ Zepp Tokyo) : photos by naoaki
button進化し続ける天才 (07/04/06 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : review by satori, photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report (07/04/06 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by izumikuma



check 'em? -->MySpace / iTunes

the latest album

Beck - Modern Guilt

"Modern Guilt"
(国内盤 / US import / US import - Analog) / UK import / UK import - 12'analog)


Beck - 1st & Hope

"1st & Hope"
(国内盤 / import)

previous works

"The Information"(US import / 国内盤 - DVD付 / iTunes)
"Singles 1994-2004"(国内盤)
"Guero"(US import / US import / US import - Collector's Edition / UK import / 国内盤 - JP Tour Edition / iTunes)
"Guerolito"(US import / iTunes)
"Sea Change"(国内盤 / US import - DVD audio / / US import - SACD / iTunes)
"Odelay "(国内盤 / 国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Mellow Gold "(国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Mutations "(国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Midnite Vultures "(国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Girl [Maxi] "(UK import)
"E-Pro [Maxi] "(US import)
"Alternative Songs "(iTunes)
"Timeless - A Hank Williams Tribute "(iTunes)
"The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered"(iTunes)
"More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album"(iTunes)
... and more

check the albums?

kern's works

mail to


buttonStill One Step Ahead Of His Audience? : Beck (24th Mar. @ NHK Hall)
buttonDeerhoof, A Raw Force From Nature : Deerhoof (1st Feb. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)


buttonSensational or Artistic: What Makes These Two So Special? : Rodrigo Y Gabriela (12th Nov. @ Shibuya AX)
buttonWhy Don't You Come On Over, Z? : The Zutons (17th Oct. @ Shibuya O-East)


buttonoverall view on Asagiri Jam (06th to 07th Oct. @ Asagiri Arena)

無断転載を禁じます。The copyright of the article belongs to and the same of the photos belongs to . They may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever.counter
==>Back To The Top Page : JPN / ENG.