April 1, 1997 |
"Never before in the entire history of the entire planet have so many people shouted out 'where it's at' at one time!" the sharp-dressed breakdancing fool exclaimed from the CoreStates Spectrum stage. "Thank you!" No foolin': Beck Hansen is a pop star. The Rolling Stone cover boy and genre-splicing musical alchemist has moved from rock critics' object of adoration to a much broader arena of worship. Literally. Beck's Easter show at the reconfigured Spectrum Theater - declared a sellout at 8,500 - was the largest that the latest savior of rock and roll had ever headlined.
October 10, 2005 |
When a supposedly still-relevant musician opens a show with a signature oldie instead of his latest hit, there's cause for worry. Beck Hansen took the Tweeter Center stage Saturday night to the acoustic slide-guitar scrape of his 11-year-old breakthrough anthem "Loser," rousing suspicions that he distrusted the material from his latest disc, Guero. Yet newer songs "Black Tambourine" and "E-Pro" held strongly against oldies from Odelay, the 1996 disc once deemed the pinnacle of rap-inflected alt-rock eclecticism by hip publications such as Spin.
September 2, 1996 |
Beck Hansen knows his audience. After he'd finished a brief, brave acoustic set Friday at the uncomfortably packed Trocadero, he thanked the pumped-up crowd for being so attentive during the quiet moments. "You've let us do our slow jams, and we appreciate that," he said as he purposefully repositioned his official-looking captain's hat on his head. "We're taking care of your hormones right now. " With that, Beck and his four supporting musicians kicked into "Where It's At," one of the more straightforward party jams on his current Odelay.
March 28, 1997 |
"One of the problems with music now is that there isn't much correspondence between the R&B/hip-hop world and the white alternative-music world, and that was something that made rock music in the '60s so dynamic, from the Stones to whoever," proclaims Beck Hansen - the artist known as Beck. A one-man crusade for erasing the cultural lines that divide us, and for getting popular music out of its ruts, Sunday's Spectrum headliner has turned the pop world on its ear. Beck's done it with a diverse, daring melange of music genres and flip, frantic, stream-of-consciousness musing - pop poetry that no less than Allen Ginsberg has judged "the best since Dylan.
February 21, 2000 |
Halfway through his show Friday at the Tower Theater, Beck Hansen dismissed the band to do a solo acoustic set. He careened through an inspired treatment of "Lazy Flies" and several other more sedate originals, and just when it seemed the band was headed back, the iconoclastic singer-songwriter solicited requests. A female voice shouted, "Take me backstage!" "Take me backstage?" Beck chortled. "I don't know that one. What key is it in?" Without missing a beat, he fired up the acoustic guitar and improvised a twisted, blues-tinged piece that addressed the myths about life on the other side of the curtain.
January 10, 2013 |
Tuesday night upstairs at World Cafe Live, a one-night Woodstock-in-a-phone-booth broke out, with the title "Philly Plays Song Reader : a New Album by Beck Hansen. " It was an introduction to both a major new album and to the local music scene, as 20 Philly-region acts played through the 20-plus songs of Beck's Song Reader . This disheveled hoot of a hootenanny left the packed, sweltering audience with two impressions: (1) Song Reader is full of various, witty, retro-futzing, often poetic songs, in an exciting and challenging new/old package; and (2)
November 21, 1999 |
There's no Y2-anything lurking within Beck Hansen's brilliant Midnite Vultures. No apprehensive references to clocks ticking or doomsday approaching. Only one passing mention of a computer: "She's all right, on my computer/She's all right, selling me watches. " Yet the millennial moment hovers over these 11 dense, detailed songs of lust and greed like an approaching storm front. The countdown is well under way, and Beck - his antennae tuned, as always, to the sordid and the ephemeral - rushes around, a repo man joyously rescuing all that the time-capsule stuffers deem unworthy.
July 8, 2008 |
Back in the Odelay day, Beck was a carefree sort. Or at least it seemed so, given the gleeful inventiveness of the boy wonder of cut-and-paste postmodern pop. In 1996, he was proving he was no one-hit "Loser" with his second major-label album (which was reissued this year). He had two turntables and a microphone at the ready, a "Devil's Haircut" in his mind, and the zeitgeist in the palm of his hand. A dozen years later, Beck has come down with a case of the paranoid post-millennial alienation blues.
September 22, 2002 |
The latest chapter in the odyssey of Beck Hansen opens with a grandiose declaration: "Put your hands on the wheel, let the Golden Age begin. " It's road-trip time, and Beck, that revered poet of postmodern dislocation, is revving the engine. Desperate to ditch the cares of the world, he's looking for a sliver of frontier that hasn't yet been subdivided, a place far enough away for him to smell possibility in the air. His words tell of buoyant new beginnings, but there's nothing resembling optimism in Beck's voice.
June 23, 1996 |
Late in his life, after he'd brought more innovations to jazz than any other single artist, Miles Davis began investigating hip-hop. He was drawn to it, he said, because he liked hearing the collision of different kinds of music. With their shrewd use of audio samples, the form's creators seemed to share Davis' oft-repeated philosophy: "There are no new notes. " Davis would have been right at home in the disco-light, mirror- ball, two-turntables-and-a-microphone world of Beck Hansen.