Having spent so many years on the road polishing their craft, it should come as no surprise that Belle & Sebastian are about as tight of a live band as you’re likely to find. Their ability to bring a smile to even the most jaded scenester’s face, however, still continues to amaze. Belying their reputation as morose, lovelorn bookworms, the band members bounded across the stage (and indeed, throughout the room) at DAR Constitution Hall on Thursday night, with a disregard for posturing that was both refreshing and disarming. They handed out signed footballs to children in the audience, dedicated a song to the First dog, Bo (who they somehow managed to miss during their visit to the White House the previous afternoon), rewarded fans who danced onstage with them with medals and endlessly amused the crowd with their witty stage banter. Oh, yeah, they also played some songs too—plenty from the newly released Write About Love, a surprising many from The Boy With the Arab Strap and quite a few from Dear Catastrophe Waitress. As for deep cuts, they even dusted off “Dog on Wheels”, one of the first Belle & Sebastian songs ever written. And yet, to call the set crowd pleasing would be to leave out half of the story—clearly, all seven members of Belle & Sebastian were having just as much fun as we were.
Belle & Sebastian