The lead singer, principal songwriter and driving force behind the U.S. indie-rock band
Unfortunately, his first few live performances with a small group of backing musicians coincided with
The statement, in an
His clarification that "I haven't been to
Fast-forward eight years and Condon, along with his current roster of talented backing musicians, has finally performed his first gig in
It may have achieved a measure of global fame, but
From the opening lines of the first number, the reflective "Nantes" from the 2007 album "The Flying Club Cup," the band succeeded in weaving a hypnotic spell over the audience. Lacking the dramatic visuals and onstage theatricality of Stromae's concert,
Condon's unique sound -- a blend of folk music, American pop, Balkan sounds, French chanson and Mexican marching tunes -- treads a bittersweet line between mournful vocals and upbeat instrumentation.
Those who had only been exposed to the band's music via recordings are likely to have been pleasantly surprised by the sophistication and subtlety of their live sound.
In spite of the broad diversity of musical influences,
Like Condon himself, the band members are all multi-instrumentalists, allowing for an ever-shifting line-up of instruments to suit every song, from the poppy hit "
Dressed in a loose white shirt and black trousers, Condon displayed a tendency to ruffle his shaggy blond hair whenever his hands weren't clutching a trumpet, giving him a disheveled, slightly flustered look.
Hardly a charismatic stage presence, the late-20-something front man's quiet persona and restrained mannerisms gave him the slightly self-conscious air of an overgrown schoolboy. Reinforcing this impression was his decision to address the audience not in his native English but in rudimentary French.
A couple of mumbled interjections, peppered with English, were Condon's only overture to his first Lebanese audience. Much of what he said was lost to the sea breeze.
"What the f--- is he saying?" one audience member was heard to stage-whisper to his neighbor, during a lengthy bout of muttering that may or may not have been an apology for not speaking better French.
A short English speech by Lanz was met with cheers. "Thank you so much, this is amazing" he told the audience between songs. "This is seriously the most beautiful place we've ever played."
Condon's final attempt to connect with his Lebanese audience was thwarted by technology. A double tap of the singer's mic revealed that an overzealous techie had already switched it off. A quick shake of the head, a single wave at the audience, and Condon ambled offstage, his
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