Carling Academy, Glasgow

No-one does effortless better than Beck Hansen, and the current incarnation of his touring outfit stretches his laidback persona to its absolute limit.

Though some of the showmanship remains, this is a stripped down performance that neither lives up to the spectacle of his �Midnite Vultures� shows nor down to the prettiness of the material from �Sea Change� or �Mutations.�

If this is something of a compromise, then it largely works. The songs from the current album, �Guero� sit well alongside his biggest hits from �Odelay,� thanks largely to the common input of the Dust Brothers. �Devil�s Haircut� and �Where It�s At,� manage to sound as ahead of their time now as they did in 1996, though the newer songs are something of a mixed batch.

�Clap Hands,� which opens the show and is reprised later, is Beck by numbers, and �Scarecrow� and �Get Real Paid� are protracted and only sporadically interesting. By contrast, �Black Tambourine� is worthy of Prince�s �Around The World In a Day� period and �Girl� is an exquisite piece of Californian pop.

Elsewhere, the approach is delightfully scattershot. A solo, acoustic slot finds the band members sitting behind him eating a meal and banging their wine glasses and plates. Covering Hank Williams and The Korgis, he also dips into �Sea Change� for the most emotionally connected part of the show.

�Black Tambourine�s electro beats make for an outbreak of skinny-tied, energetic dancing on stage, and �Hell Yes� is Beck reconnecting with his hip-hop influences, but this is neither the best band nor performance Beck has produced in recent years.

It is still a good show by any standards other than his own, but there is a sneaking suspicion that he has lost interest in the process.

originally appeared in The Herald

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