Beirut soundtrack the sunset on Latitude’s opening day

Latitude 2016: Beirut

Zach Condon’s melancholy-laced, breezy music doesn’t go for the jugular, but it’s a smart match for Latitude’s main stage.

A second from top main stage billing might not work for Beirut at any old festival, but something’s in the air at Latitude. Besides the front few rows, the Obelisk Arena is mostly a sea of happy campers, families slumped in deckchairs, kids on their parents’ shoulders. Despite latest album ‘No No No’ being more of the same for Zach Condon’s outfit, their more beloved, older material is a match made in heaven for this setting.

Attempting to disprove the idea that ukuleles can’t possibly be cool, Condon and his band of merry men breeze through a decade’s worth of sunny, melancholy-laced, horn-led bravado. From the outside, their songs are breezy, easygoing affairs. But burrowed deep within is a tightrope of emotions worthy of fellow Latitude sad boys The National and Frightened Rabbit.

On ‘The Riptide’, Condon sings about the house “where I feel alone,” each line delivered like it’s fresh in the memory. A personal crisis defined ‘No No No’, writer’s block followed by a new eureka moment. It’s still hard to see where Beirut go from here, given how little their style fluctuates. But here in this very moment, they seem right at home.

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Photos: Emma Swann / DIY.