Beirut makes sound synergy

By Will Byers | Dec 14, 2011
Photo by: Donated photo Zachary Condon leads Beirut, which produces indie rock which often has a bit of international flavor. The group is currently on tour and recently played The Orange Peel in Asheville.

The steadily evolving yet ever-consistent Beirut arrived in Asheville to grace The Orange Peel on Monday, Dec. 5, with their opener, the Seattle-based artist Perfume Genius. The eager audience was out in numbers, and the weather was blissfully crisp and clear.

Since their debut in 2006, “Gulag Orkestar,” Beirut, led by Sante Fe's Zachary Condon, have impressed fans and critics of many realms. Blending elements of “indie” and “old world” and even occasional traces of mariachi, their style has progressed into an elevated form on their third album, “The Riptide.”

Incorporating elements of modern electronic music, this album has branched further into the realm of pop than their previous efforts, but it has not abandoned its plaintive, impassioned appeal or its intricacies.

Asheville fans were treated to a melange of Beirut‘s songs, past and present, and the players were in perfect form. With their array of brass instruments and colorful lights strung out over the audience, it felt like a glimpse of the humble magic this band was steeped in when developing in New Mexico, also known as "The Land of Enchantment." Condon is a young man, at 25 perhaps no older than many of his admirers, but his musical aesthetic is sophisticated, and increasingly so. His songs seem to emerge from some past life, and it is exciting to think where he will take his talents in his life ahead. With three albums in five years, an admirably productive but not breakneck pace, one would think it won’t be long till the next chapter in Beirut’s unfolding.

For more information on Beirut, visit For more information about upcoming shows at The Orange Peel, go to