Beirut Kicks Off the Guggenheim's "Dark Sounds" Series

Jake Stavis

In spite of the Guggenheim's "kinda trippy" acoustics (as Beirut member Hari Ziznewski so eloquently put it), Zach Condon's international gypsy orchestra  delivered an epic one-hour set last night on the ground floor of the museum. The show kicked off the three-part "Dark Sounds" concert series, a project in conjunction with their current exhibition "Haunted: Contemporary Photographer/Video/Performance," which features modern photography that employs outdated or otherwise abandoned techniques.

Beirut, fronted by Albuquerque-raised indie wunderkind Condon, couldn't have been a better choice to kick off the series, their ukuleles, accordions and brass creating music mostly associated with another time and another place. The museum's winding Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda made for a rather surreal setting and despite the melancholic title of the both the exhibit and the show, I can't recall ever seeing more indie kids join together to do the wave (which made its way both up and down the spiral). The set included crowd favorites like "Elephant Gun" and "Postcards from Italy" as well as lesser known tracks like "the Akara" and "Wroclai," making for an altogether splendid performance (a full set list is posted on Brooklyn Vegan).

For those who couldn't make it to last night's affair, there's still hope! The Dark Sounds series continues August 5 with Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller, and The Cinematic Orchestra is booked for September 3.

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