BY Madelaine De Leon

Last Saturday night, the indie fangirl from my frizzy haired, gawky teenage years died in me when I got the chance to see Belle & Sebastian up close and personal at their Sydney Opera House gig. As an avid listener of the band throughout high school, it felt like Heaven dropped a Willy Wonka’s golden ticket straight into my lap.

You’re probably thinking, “who dis?” An indie pop band from the small village of Glasgow, Scotland does not spring to mind when it comes to the coveted and all so classy Sydney Opera House. Even Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer himself jokes midway, “It’s so posh in here, you could hear a pin drop. Here we are in a venue that plays Shakespeare and Opera. You could say we’re somewhere in between?” Although they’ve made success, cultivating fans all over, they remain just as humbly self-deprecating as ever.

The concert was off to a rocky start with ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’ however picked up momentum a few minutes into it. I totes got it though. It was 8 PM, Sydney was the last stop for their Australian tour, and they had played this song a trillion times since it first came out in 1998. Despite this, they were able to pull through playing track after track, ranging from their upbeat new material, danceable grooves to their classic croons.

Although they were on tour for their newest album, ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’, they only played a small amount out of the two hours which had an added zest in comparison to their previous recordings. In between these tracks Murdoch said, “let us go back in time” playing songs that meant the world to my life story including, ‘If She Wants Me’ which is about accepting a breakup, ‘Fox in the Snow’ consoling those at their loneliest and ‘Expectations’ which depicts the pressures of a high school social outcast.

Something I love about them is that they always switch roles between players, changing lead vocalists and different instruments. During the set, Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens plays two tracks with the band backing him up (lowkey wished they played more of Belle & Sebastian tbh #greedyfan). It was great to see them constantly shift, giving a fair trade between members which hardly occurs with most bands.

Looking around the crowd ranging from the fresh faced and collegiate hipsters (like myself) to the eclectically tasteful middle-aged, some were letting loose whilst others were sitting in a constipated manner which to me was pretty funny. To shake things up, Murdoch threw himself into the audience, making everyone stand on their toes to get a good view of his awkward but oh so charming dance moves during which I got to be a table close to him #fangirlingsohardrn. As the gig drew to a close, the crowd made the most of it with most getting up and boogying to their inappropriately popular anthem, ‘Get Me Away from Here I’m Dying’ which hits all feels of me at a party.

The concert was amazing and will definitely be one of my most cherished memories. For those who haven’t heard of this incredibly talented band, start Spotifying them you won't be disappointed.

Images credit Ken Leanfore

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