PICTURES AND VIDEO: Old and new at his Beck and call Live at the Marquee

Boundary-busting Beck made a dramatic first ever appearance in Cork last night, bringing a big dance party sound and an even bigger personality.

PICTURES AND VIDEO: Old and new at his Beck and call Live at the Marquee

He arrived at the Marquee with new single ‘Dreams’ meeting respectful reviews and his loyal following eagerly awaiting the Los Angeles songwriter’s promise of a new album, a counterpart to award-winning Morning Phase, in the near future.

‘Dreams’ meets a warm reception. So too do other, older gems, including ‘Devil’s Haircut’, ‘Loser’, ‘Black Tambourine’ and a cover of ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer. The beach guitar of ‘Gamma Ray’ also scores well in the mosh pit.

“His lyrics and music really shouldn’t work together, but he’s incredible,” said Shane Mooney, a fan who travelled from Offaly.

Of course, Beck doesn’t seem too interested in hanging onto fans of any one genre. Black cowboy hat, funk riffs, and big aggressive Zooropa-style back screen — he’s a genius. He rocked this audience of 20- to 40-somethings, highly appreciative, albeit the tent was far short of capacity.

“It’s amazing to be here,” says Beck. “It’s no secret Ireland is one of our favourite places to play. There’s not much sun out there, so let’s try give you some California sunshine.”

Musically, every new tour and album seems to be a departure from its predecessor. Those seeking lo-fi, high-brow hip-hop were met instead with funked-up folk, two parts Ryan Adams, three parts James Brown.

Happy to talk in interviews about his espousal of Scientology, happy to collaborate with everyone from relative unknowns up to Bowie and Bjork, you really never know what you’re in for with Beck.

His last Irish appearance was at Electric Picnic last year, widely viewed as one of the highlights of the weekend. And the same could be said of last night, as if he was laying down the gauntlet to all the other Marquee acts to follow. Well, the quality bar has certainly been set.

Seeing Beck in this form is a real privilege. Fans who are going along to tonight’s Beck show at Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, are in for a treat. His special guest tonight is Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, who is backed by the London Contemporary Orchestra.

A word also to Beck’s warm-up act last night. Cork-based, Waterford-formed O Emperor are also a joy to behold. Everything they do has an air of class, and they’ll definitely have gained some new fans on a real carnival night in the big top.

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