Soul Of A Man – Review of Beck at Bank of America Pavilion

Beck on stage at Bank of America Pavillion. (Photo - D.Hixon)

Where it’s at. Beck on stage at Bank of America Pavilion. (Photo – D.Hixon)

Bank of America Pavilion, Seaport District, 08/02/13

I’ve grown up with Beck, and have been a fan since first hearing that sloppy slide guitar on “Loser” back in 1993. The timing was perfect for that song and me. It mashed together a plethora of cultures I was exploring and was so different than the classic rock I grew up with or the “serious” alternative that encircled it back in the early 90’s. For a 14 year old kid living in the suburbs it was weird enough, funky enough, and punk enough to peak my interest – and more importantly, it was fun. “Loser” was also a popular adjective for me and my crew at the time, made famous by Sub Pop’s iconic t-shirt which became a uniform of sorts for a best friend of mine. That song cracked open the door to Beck for me, and after walking through I’ve never really looked back.

I quickly dove into Becks other work, buying Steropathetic Soul Manure and One Foot In The Grave, both of which I love today more than ever. And as I went deeper into Becks catalog I was floored by how diverse his music was. Everything was present. Folk-slop acoustic songs? Check. Punked-Out screamers? Check. Weird Lo-Fi Field Recordings? Check. Funky White Boy Soul? Check. Beck seemed to have no fear of what to explore or play which I connected very strongly with. He belonged to no clique and his music was his own. I’ve always been all over the map with what I listen to, never pinning myself to a single genre, and think I owe Beck a lot for that, he’s bent genres more than any other solo performer I can think of, staying relevant and contemporary throughout it all.

Each album of his is like a unique watermark. Odelay and Mutations helped me get through a move in the middle of High School, while Midnight Vultures provided the party soundtrack for my college years. After getting my degree I struggled with weird work and no money and reflected with Sea Change. Then as my 20’s moved on I finally settled into my life and celebrated with Guero and The Information. Modern Guilt brought me into my 30’s and led to this past Friday’s show at Bank of America Pavilion, which I have to say, I was a little disappointed in.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Beck and I’ve never seen him so docile on stage. I knew he’d be touching on his entire catalog so I expected a bit more of a performance from him and not just playing. Instead he stood fairly complacent on stage dressed all in black and played his songs, which did sound great mind you – but it all seemed….I don’t know, a little too grown-up for me. The fun which I’ve always loved and associated with Beck seemed to be a little sapped from what I’ve come to expect from a Beck performance. It wasn’t a bad show, it just seemed restrained to me. The concert was fine enough for 34 year-old Derek, but I’m pretty sure 14 year old Derek would have been bored, or maybe I’m just a loser for not really growing up – choking on the splinters.

D. Hixon

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