BELLE & SEBASTIAN | Cambridge, Corn Exchange

A Cambridge audience often starts with a little baggage that needs to be shaken off.  When praised for our ‘unbridled enthusiasm’ or referred to as ‘intellectuals’ there’s an undertone that perhaps on first impressions we’re a little more reserved than the preceding tour dates.  If ever there was a sure fire way for Belle & Sebastian to get things cooking though it was with a sequence of hits from 2006’s The Life Pursuit.  More than any other, this album is crammed with sunny hits that renders last week’s big freeze a distant memory.  Spring has definitively arrived and lead singer Stuart Murdoch’s cheeky smile is a nod to a sun-soaked evening ahead.

The evening samples some of the fan favourites from an extensive back-catalogue, as well as awelcome spot light on emerging favourites from the band’s most recent output: How to Solve our Human Problems.  Whilst the genre may skirt from indie to the occasional flirt with disco, there’s a constant beauty in the lyrics and the unwavering glue of a doting fan base.  Fox in the Snow hits exactly the right spot.

It’s a cluttered stage with more re-shuffles than a flailing government, and in the wings intermittently lurk further musicians wielding a trumpet, accordion, recorder and occasional relegation to clapping.  Belle & Sebastian’s seven-piece line up doesn’t quite boast ‘unbridled’ charisma, but thankfully Murdoch is well-equipped and willing: he bounces across the stage to unabashed disco hit The Party Line and we all bounce in unison with him.  For the handpicked few from the crowd there’s opportunity to join the ranks on stage and they beam back at us in utter glee of having reached fan nirvana.

 

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