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Beck/Spoon/MGMT @ Hollywood Bowl, 9/20/08

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Silver Lake's favorite son, Beck Hansen, returned to Los Angeles on Saturday night for a one night engagement at the Hollywood Bowl (9/20/08). In his largest, hometown-headlining gig, Beck took a decidedly different approach to his performance -- rather than relying on the gimmicks and theatrics of previous tours, he put the music on display.

Beck came to the stage serious and subdued, leaving at home the silly dancing, table top percussion and/or marionette gags of previous incarnations. In keeping with his most recent, Danger Mouse produced album, Modern Guilt (Interscope), Beck shifted focus from the fun to the reflective, at times approaching dour. By no means did this constitute an un-engaging performance -- quite the opposite -- but rather, a more thoughtful, grown-up Beck came out to play.

The full weight of this introspective shift could be felt as he was joined on stage by the LA Philharmonic string section (conducted by his father David Campbell). The strings provided a full-bodied accompaniment to the already lyrically heavy tracks of Sea Change (Interscope).

Clearly recognizing the weight of the set, he closed with the dance-y, "Where It's At," and "E-Pro," which allowed the audience a happy reprise to top-off the memory of the show. And it is this type of versatility that's allowed Beck to remain a unique and stand-out artist. From the lyrical playfulness of "Loser" and "Devil's Haircut" to the somber "Round the Bend" the 90-minute set was a showcase of his talent.

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The triple bill was one of the more solid lineups put forth at the bowl, or almost any venue for that matter, this summer. Featuring support from indie breakout act MGMT and Ausin's best, Spoon, the evening was a great display of rock talent.

MGMT's short set showcased a now familiar psych-infused, 70's rock. One of the summer's hottest buzz bands, their feel good tracks "Electric Feel" and "Kids," set the tone for the evening. Spoon, who have been touring for almost two years straight, returned to LA after playing locally nearly ten times last year. The Austin-bred quartet, led by Britt Daniel, proved yet again why they deserve to break out of the "indie" mold and into the mainstream.