Quebec grooves to quirky Beck at FEQ

Photo: Renaud Philippe courtesy of FEQ

Beck (right) and his band treated fans to a generous helping of his hit songs during the American pop-rocker’s first-ever performance in Quebec.

Perhaps the best way to describe Beck – Beck Hansen, in full – is that he is indescribable, both musically and as an entertainer. No matter, the Californian was a grooving hit at his Festival d’Été de Québec (FEQ) debut.

Acknowledging early in his set that “you have a great festival here,” the 48-year-old musical chameleon seized hold of the huge crowd in front of the Bell stage on Thursday, creating a bouncy party atmosphere for his 90-minute appearance.

Dazzling hallucinatory video images on the stage’s massive screens provided an exciting backdrop for his 15-song set, and a crack band, featuring, among other stand-outs, guitarist Cecilia Della Peruti, was in sync with Beck as he moved from song to song.

This “hillbilly from outer space,” as he was introduced years ago on the satirical Larry Sanders Show, is on an extensive tour to promote his 13th and latest album, Colors. He has said the new album was written with live performances in mind and he wanted to take it on the road. He played in Ottawa and Laval before his FEQ stop.

Fans were treated to a generous helping of the almost childlike rocker’s hits from earlier albums, including “New Pollution,” “Girl” and “E-Pro.” His rendition of “Debra” transitioned into a version of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret.”

Beck wrapped up the show with a virtuoso montage of tunes entwined around “Where It’s At,” including “One Foot in the Grave,” and covers of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” and Gary Numan’s “Cars.”

All in all, it was a Beck FEQ show that was … indescribably entertaining.