Belle & Sebastian, et al, at Wolf Trap

Two summers of canceled or delayed concert tours due to COVID has not only resulted in a pent-up desire among music fans to get out and enjoy, but caused a big pile-up of top acts sharing bills in order to fit in all the season’s dates.

There’d be no reason that, say, Belle & Sebastian and Japanese Breakfast couldn’t headline their own tours. But here they were together on a splendid outdoor bill at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in the woods of Virginia on an evening kicked off by the sharp, grooving instrumentals of the London band Los Bitchos.

Belle & Sebastian, for one, was a band so anxious to perform they’ve been pickng things from all over their career, doing multiple songs from six different albums in addition to only a couple from their latest, A Bit of Previous, that they had to record at home in Glasgow instead of Los Angeles because of travel restrictions.

So giddy did they seem at performing, frontman Stuart Murdoch ended up dancing atop an upright piano at the end of “I’m a Cuckoo.” “How did I get up here?” he wondered at its end. 

Every night’s set has been different from the last as they spin through their rich catalog. And as spontaneous as it all seemed, there was a definite plan in action as half its members — there are up to eight on stage this time —  moved to different instruments for each selection.

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