Sometimes the music (and weather) gods decide to align for one night to make a show extraordinary. On a gray and drizzly night in Hollywood everything lined up for Belle and Sebastian’s show at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Raincoats and scarves adorned many fans who braved the light rain for the showing of the film, Trainspotting, on the side of the mausoleum before the set.
Those that had already taken their eyes from the flick and to the stage had already seen this themed night accelerate into the next gear. I mean, a movie about Scottish heroin addicts obviously equals Scottish band. A Tombstone on stage equals the graveyard backdrop.. and if all that doesn’t equate for you, they opened the set with “Suki in the Graveyard”.
Stuart Murdoch and company made sure this spooky night would start with a blast of dance. Everyone got off their blankets and trampled the leftover picnic goods to jump along. It was the perfect start to get the crowd up and moving before settling their hearts back down with “Like Dylan in a Movie”.
Even though Belle and Sebastian is currently touring in support of their latest album, Write About Love, this show was not showcasing material from their latest; instead it was a fan’s dream setlist - A set packed with songs that encompassed the groups 13 plus years. Many fans had already gotten to see the group a few nights prior at the Palladium but those fans didn’t get to hear “If You are Feeling Sinister” and see the devilish grin on Murdoch’s face as he sat on the tombstone.
While, lyrically, one might think Murdoch is quiet and reserved on stage, the man seemed to find a way to always be in the spotlight. It was all eyes on Stuart as he walked out to the crowd to get some mascara put on his eyes during “Lord Anthony.” Those eyes followed as he showed off his football skills (do they even have football in Scotland?) tossing out balls to fans before throwing on a scarf and sunglasses (+2 hipster points) and grabbing fans to bring them onstage to join in the dancing for “The Boy with the Arab Strap.”
These fans even got to join in on the vocals of “The State I Am In.” The state the crowd was in was bliss. That was until we heard the all too familiar, “This will be our last song.” “Sleep the Clock Around” would be that last song. However, that’s not really the way to end a themed night, unless they were talking about the people sleeping six feet under.
The fans certainly didn’t let that be the end. The chanting of the band’s name started, but that was too many syllables for the intoxicated crowd, so it turned into a chant of “B-S.” What wasn’t BS was their decision to end this amazing evening with “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying.” A joke should be included here about death and the cemetery but all that needs to be said is: Belle and Sebastian is a much more intelligent, tongue-in-cheek ensemble than your average band. With so many bands now journeying down the path Belle and Sebastian paved, it wasn’t a surprise to see how incredibly well they could theme a cemetery show in Hollywood without it becoming a generic Hollywood cliché.
Check our photos out below!
Photography by Carl Pocket