So Very Beck-cellent!
If the last-minute, sold-out "Beck Jam" at Gypsy Tea Room last night proved anything, it's that Scientologists know how to party. (But only within reason: A female roadie pulled double duty as a bodyguard, standing off-stage at Mr. Hanson's feet to ward off unruly fans and Body Thetans.) Running through a set of favorites new and old, Beck and Co. (including brother-in-law Giovanni Ribisi on guitar) sounded appropriately sloppy for a band blowing off steam at the end of a tour, with auxiliary percussionist Ryan Faulkner and keyboardist-in-drag Brian Lebarton hyping the well-behaved crowd into playing along.
Extended, highly ad-libbed versions of "Where It's At" and "Debra" were wisely cut off around the eight-minute mark—although, to be fair, they were each quite hilarious for the entirety of their eight minutes. Newer songs such as"Scarecrow" and "Think I'm In Love" fared much better, with the band's powers reaching their apex on "Nausea," the funky, "Sympathy for the Devil"-indebted single performed earlier this week on Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with David Letterman.
Space-country weeper "Guess I'm Doing Fine" was the real highlight of the evening, however, providing a welcome breather towards the end of the set and satisfying fans of Beck's sadder, Sea Change-side. In the end, it was all about the party, though, with Beck proclaiming the show his favorite of the tour and Ribisi and Faulkner crowd-surfing to the "na na nas" of "E-Pro." I'm still not sure how I scored on my personality test, but if Dianetics is half this fun, then sign me up yesterday. --Noah W. Bailey SETLIST
"Devil's Haircut" "Black Tambourine" "Loser" "Girl" "Nicotine & Gravy" "We Dance Alone" "Send a Message to Her" "Cellphone's Dead" "Mixed Bizness" "Debra" "Sissyneck" "Think I'm In Love" "Guess I'm Doing Fine" "Paper Tiger" "Where It's At" "Nausea"
"Hell Yes" "E-Pro"
To hear (and see for yerself) both Beck performances from last weekend's Saturday Night Live, go here. Amazing.
For a live version of "Nausea," performed earlier this week on KCRW in Santa Monica, go here.
And for pics from last night's "Beck Jam," our pal Chris Cantalini at Gorilla vs. Bear has plenty here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.