The Washington Post

In concert: Beirut at 9:30 Club

Zach Condon led Beirut through the first of two sold-out shows at 9:30 Club on Tuesday. (Photos by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

Beirut started out as a bedroom recording project for Sante Fe songwriter Zach Condon, but five years after its recorded debut it’s grown into a marching band. At least it more resembles a marching band than a rock band, with a whole section of brass and nary an electric guitar in sight.

The band has taken a more upbeat, accessible turn on this year’s “The Rip Tide” album — their third full-length release — but Condon’s songs remain languorous and brief. Sometimes they’re waltzes; often they’re introduced by his own ukelele or Perrin Cloutier’s accordion. On Tuesday, at the first night of a sold-out nights at the 9:30 Club, the sullen-faced, melancholy-voiced Condon fit a full headlining set’s worth of songs into a slender 70-minute performance time. He lost little time to banter, electing instead to let his singing do the, uh, talking. It’s a morose warble that carries traces of Roy Orbison, Morrissey, and The National’s Matt Berringer.

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