Belle and Sebastian’s triumphant return to New York

Belle and Sebastian at The Williamsburg Waterfront: Undaunted by the threatening storm. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

UPDATE: The dancing fool in our video (scroll down)has identified himself via YouTube as “deandempseync” on YouTube. He tells Will You Miss Me: “Who’s the handsome devil on the left of the screen? ME! I’m the ‘tall one with the curly hair [who] got a bit carried away by the whole thing.’ Somehow rather proud… And [that] was a bottle of gin.”

The impending fury of Tropical Storm Nicole wasn’t enough to keep the fans away from showing up in droves at The Williamsburg Waterfront on Thursday, Sept. 30, to for Belle and Sebastian‘s first New York show in four years.

In fact, the threat of a storm brought B&S onstage a bit earlier than scheduled in hopes of beating the rain. That turned out to be a boon for the audience, as B&S played a longer set, going right up to the venue’s 10 p.m. curfew

Teenage Fanclub played a tight and tuneful opening set.

Amazingly, with the help of a tight and lively set by fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub, B&S managed to keep the bad weather at bay (Nicole behaved herself until early the next morning) and put on a show that was nothing short of spectacular.

Aside from some terrible sartorial choices — with Sarah Martin, Stuart, and Stevie Jackson all unwittingly donning very similar black-and-white horizontal stripe shirt, causing Stevie to keep his coat on all night, Stuart’s unfortunate man-scarf — it was quite a spectacle in every respect.

B&S played plenty from the forthcoming album, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, but didn’t beat it to death. The band focused on keeping the fans happy with a wide range of songs from its huge catalogue. And that effort paid off well.

It was satisfying to see that B&S didn’t call on any celebrity friends to make guest appearances at the show. Given that New York’s Norah Jones duets with B&S on the new album’s “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” it was plausible to think she might show up. But B&S kept things strictly in the family for this show.

Stuart even invited seven fans onstage to clap and dance along with a classic number, “The Boy with the Arab Strap.” Here’s a video of that amusing interlude. Pay particular attention to the tall guy with the curly hair:

Check out a great new interview with the band by Laura Barton for The Guardian. And click through to the jump for more Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? photos from the show.

Sarah Martin, Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson. Stuart's man-scarf and cheap sunglasses, didn't seem like a great wardrobe choice, but he abandoned them fairly early in the set.

The fabulous Maxim Moston on violin, heading up the B&S New York Strings.

Stuart Murdoch has grown into the consummate showman.

Stuart Murdoch borrowed a hat from a fan and wore it as he climbed over the fence into the audience.

Stuart Murdoch's not afraid of mixing it up with the fans.

Sarah Willson (the B&S cellist, taking up recorder for a bit), Stuart Murdoch, Sarah Martin and Chris "Beans" Geddes.

Sarah Martin

Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson

Stuart Murdoch spent most of his time fronting the band, except for a few numbers when he moved to the keyboard.

Stuart Murdoch on acoustic guitar.


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