Belle and Sebastian charmed the Observatory North Park with their Scottish wit and impeccable musicianship.

Some bands that have been active for a decade or more live off their heyday energy when they tour, but not Belle and Sebastian; Glasgow’s renowned twee indie rockers have only been getting better and better since their start in 1996.

The dream-pop solo project of Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast, opened show. Zauner’s two full-lengths Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017) are already favorites of rock critics but sounded even stronger live. Zauner’s incredible voice was clear and strong. She was emotive while singing tracks like “Road Head,” “Boyish” and “Everybody Wants to Love You” but charming and friendly while bantering with the crowd.

Lead by the prolific Stuart Murdoch, Belle and Sebastian played a set that spanned their early hits like “Boy With an Arab Strap” to tracks off the 2018 release, How To Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1-3). The live band featured the six core members–Murdoch, Stevie Jackson, Sarah Martin, Chris Geddes, Richard Colburn, and Bobby Kildea–plus several touring members on cello, keys and guitar.

Performance highlights included renditions of “I Want the World to Stop,” “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” and “Boy With the Arab Strap.” For the latter, Belle members Murdoch and Jackson pulled up concertgoers to dance to a few tracks. The audience knew this stunt was coming (thanks, social media spoilers…) but nonetheless enjoyed the result that looked like a scene out of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Belle and Sebastian came back for a several song encore to the audience’s delight. Drummer Richard Colburn and keyboardist Chris Geddes headed to the Whistle Stop Bar down the street to DJ after their show with local song selecters, DJs Jon Blaj and Rob Moran.

Review by: Lara McCaffrey
Photos by: Sylvia Borgo