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Controlling a crowd's attention is a talent. Controlling its emotions is a feat. The curvilinear patterns of French composer Yann Tiersen and his superb backing band — orchestral at times and psychedelic at others — entranced the packed Solana Beach tavern deep into the night with their contained chaos.

Those who ventured out expecting the sweeping cinematic aesthetics of Tiersen's earlier work, such as the much-heralded Amélie soundtrack, were roused from their seats by an intense, meandering set in which one song melted into the next.

Tiersen, a virtuoso on everything from the mandolin to the accordion, began his violin numbers with stretching, mournful notes making the listener feel alone at sea before flipping the compositions on their heads with frantic, explosive crescendos. Most of Tiersen's set was culled from his sixth studio album, Dust Lane, and was highlighted by the set-closing banjo and mellotron-infused "Fuck Me."

Tiersen's recorded music exists in dark corners but does not dwell there on stage. While his last record was solemnly dedicated to his mother and a friend who passed away during its recording, Tiersen's hope-springs-eternal mantra shines through under deft swells of vintage synths and bright electric guitars.

  • Concert: Yann Tiersen
  • Date: March 10
  • Venue: Belly Up
  • Seats: General admission
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