Broken down outside of Gallup along Route 66 with nothing to do but sit around, stack up some beer bottles and knock ’em down again to the tune of a finely played accordion. It's almost too romantic a tale to be true, but there they were, just two bands on the road back to Albuquerque.
Beirut, the brainchild of Albuquerque-born and Santa Fe-raised Zach Condon, has been generating quite a buzz on music blogs and websites even before his first album, Gulag Orkestar, hit stands. Since its release, Condon has recruited seven musicians to back up his haunting vocals with the gypsy-like sound of guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin, ukulele and organ. With them, he hit the road for his first national (and international) tour with fellow New Mexicans and label-mates A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
The tour has been something crazy and surreal, Condon said during a phone interview as he bowled down bottles and waited for AAA to come fix the van. “We're almost home,” he said.
On top of breaking down in the New Mexico desert, Condon lost a shoe last week while crowd-surfing at the Great American Music Hall and was accosted by numerologists in Canada--twice. Albuquerque will be the second to last domestic stop before jetting off to the U.K.
"God only knows what the audience will be like in Albuquerque," he said. "Rumor has it no one even knew I was gone."
Condon moved to Brooklyn back in December and Beirut has played in New Mexico only once before this tour, but local fans haven't been deaf to its appeal. Condon joked that Gulag Orkestar was available in South Korea before it was in New Mexico stores, but we still have the Internet here in the 505.
We saw the buzz. We read the reviews. We heard the album. We're glad you still call New Mexico home.