In a world filled exuberant musicians trying to make their mark in the industry, it’s hard to stand out. Indie Pop—one of the most common genres today—seems to be even more difficult to succeed in, outside stray gigs at local pubs and on a radio show.

Here in Beirut, we’re no different. So when three music-savvy friends thought, “how do we make this easier?”, Beirut Jam Sessions was born. Since their inception in 2012, the trio has revealed to us the likes of The Wanton Bishops, Charlie Rayne, Karim Douady and more. Bands that once struggled to gain notoriety were suddenly thrust into the Beirut music spotlight.

Last month, Beirut Jams brought us We Were Evergreen, the bubbly French indie pop band that have so many more things going for them than just their catchy melodies and European charm. On February 28, crowds gathered in The Warehouse to greet yet another one of Beirut Jams’ so skillfully selected acts.

Funnily enough, the vibe from the crowd didn’t reflect excitement for We Were Evergreen. Rather, the people returned with a blind faith in Beirut Jams’, trusting that the gig would be as head-boppingly mesmerizing as the last. And, sure enough, they delivered.



Opening act—a local musician, as is Beirut Jams’ trademark—was Maya Aghniadis. In all honesty, Aghniadis's voice wasn't what struck me during her first big performance. Instead, her whimsical lyrics, upbeat demeanor and all around pleasantness were what intrigued me. The audience responded favorably to Aghniadis and, by the time We Were Evergreen took the stage, the people were sufficiently pumped up.

The band opened with their album’s namesake and biggest hit, “Leeway”. As the English lyrics flowed, ever so slightly tinged with the French accent, the tittering audience began to hum along to the fanciful melody.

The first thought on my mind when I heard the name of the band was, “what’s the story?” Michael Liot—on vocals, ukulele, acoustic guitar, banjo, trumpet, and charango—answered the question, perhaps leaving it more ambiguous than the start.



“We Were Evergreen is a paradox,” he said. “Something that is meant to live forever but that doesn't anymore. The band's themes are built on that balance between past and present, memory and oblivion, shape shifting and sclerosis.”

The quizzical trio has been active since 2008. Liot and fellow singer, keyboardist, harmonics and xylophone and glockenspiel wizard, Fabienne Debarre, met in a drama course. Liot met the third Evergreen, William Serfass, a day before their first ever gig. Serfass completes the trio with vocals, percussions, rhythm loop, bass, and electric guitar.

The choice of instruments, according to Liot, is hardly random. “There has been an evolution throughout our five years as a band,” he said, “but we've always insisted on keeping three different instrument types as a blend: acoustic strings and percussion, electric feels and electronic rhythms.”

Though the night certainly lived up to Beirut Jams' standards, the highlight wasn't the stage performance. Halfway through the gig--and quite unsurprisingly, considering we reside in Lebanon--the electricity went out. The band was left without the use of their mics or amps. Without missing a beat, they stepped off the stage and into the crowd. And in an entirely French fashion, the three musicians began to play, sans electricity, in the middle of the audience.



And we all know that the acoustic version is always better.

Needless to say, Beirut Jam Sessions delivered above and beyond what we expected. With a recently ominous, "April 25th. Save the date." tweet, you'll know what day to mark on your calendars.

With all the vibes channeling through the Beirut music scene, it's not hard for burgeoning young talent to get excited. Because, as Liot put it, "there was music to be made, so we made it."

We Were Evergreen in Lebanon: Beirut Jam Sessions Does it Again
 

Articles & Media

6 photos
Pony Pony Run Run & Goldfish... #NowPlaying on May 22, 2013
 

Past Events

Comments

Avatar 1
Post to facebook