Concert Review: Belle and Sebastian / Honeyblood at the Capitol Theater / Overture Center – Madison, WI – April 4, 2015
Published by JB on April 5, 2015
It had to take the biggest college basketball game in recent, local history to overshadow Belle and Sebastian’s first ever Madison stop. In the days leading up to the concert, ticket prices plummeted as fans made a decision between a rock (well, twee pop) concert and watching the Final Four on High Definition at the downtown bars that were literally 20 yards away from the venue. Remarkably, over 1200 fans stayed loyal to their ticket purchase. A packed Capitol Theater provided the perfect atmosphere to a crowd filled with a few too many drunks.
Feeling under the weather (“the state I’m in”, as Belle and Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch punned at the beginning), Murdoch led the band through a collection of hits that’s been building up for 15 years now. To not like Belle and Sebastian is to not like milk chocolate, baby seals, and orphaned puppies. They’re likable in all aspects; skilled artists with charm, upbeat lyrics and elite showmanship. They want to dance, avoid heartache, and inundate you with their adorableness. What’s not to love? This band will kill you with kindness.
Murdoch is still the brilliant, buoyant leader; forever prolific, youthful and innocently endearing. He comes across as the guy that will climb the ladder to save your cat and will then work his ass off to confront perfection in the face during one of his many projects. He’s driven and charming all at the same time. Onstage, the man is everywhere. He’s dancing, playing acoustic and electric guitar, on the piano, doing brief duets with bandmates, and even bringing Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale of Honeyblood onstage for the rousing encore.
The openers, Honeyblood, were an equally charming opener, playing a brisk 45 minute set of their self-described ‘crunch pop’. Engaging the audience in between each song they had most of the early arriving crowd in their backpocket by the 30-minute mark with a combination of looks, powerful drums and about 20 dozen smiles. You couldn’t help but leave the theater believing you had just made 13 new friends onstage.