Saturday, July 30, 2005

Steve Hanna on Beck's Live Show

Hanna in Now Playing Magazine believes that Beck's strange on-stage dancer helps warmify the singers otherwise chilly stand-offishness:

...standing beside him on the stage at the small Hollywood club 1650 was Ryan Faulkner, a jumpsuited dancer doing karate kicks and sweating like a Houston highway worker, his eyes invisible behind shades straight out of That ’70s Show’s wardrobe closets and his shaggily-scrawny demeanor not entirely distinguishable from what the uninitiated might well expect of Beck himself. The herky-jerky white-boy dance moves were a thing of beauty – watching Faulkner do the Robot during a frenetic “Black Tambourine” was like seeing Olivier in Henry V, or at least like witnessing Takeru Kobayashi down a pile of frankfurters – but the overwhelming impression was that you were seeing Beck’s doppelganger, an actualization of the id-driven, purple-pants-sporting cut-and-paster who made “Nicotine and Gravy” sound like the perfect pair of things to be thinking about as you made out with a stranger in the back of a smoky club. Faulkner didn’t do anything but dance that night, and yet he was the linchpin of the slightly under-rehearsed band. His antics even prompted a chuckle or two from Beck himself, a guy you kind of never expected to see grinning in your whole life.

By the tour’s closing night months later at the Gibson Amphitheater, the dancer’s role in the show had expanded. Sure, he still busted out some pretty fresh moves, clad this time in knee socks and unflatteringly-cut ’70s shorts, but Faulkner now played occasional excellent percussion and also changed into a waiter’s costume to bring out the full meal the rest of the band dined on at a stage left table during Beck’s lengthy solo acoustic set.


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