Nineties-alternative music was in full force last night at the IU Auditorium when experimental rocker Beck and opener Nick Valensi, guitarist for the Strokes, played a sold-out show. Beck, who donned his typical wide-brimmed hat, danced, whirled and jumped in front of the geometric shapes and bright colors flashing across the video screen behind him.
“We’re just going to play a whole bunch of things today, see how it goes,” Beck said.
He called on the audience in the second song to hear their rendition of his first hit song, “Loser.” The crowd yelled and fumbled its way through the obscure rap lyrics, but joined together confidently at the chorus: “I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me?”
There’s no such thing as a “Beck sound,” sophomore Jack Alfonso said. Alfonso awarded Beck the title of his favorite artist and has previously seen him live four times.
It could be a totally different experience based on the setlist, he said, so you don’t know what to expect.
Beck often hops between genres, mixing soul, funk, electronica and grunge, according to the auditorium’s website.
The variety of genres and sounds kept Beck’s 23 years of discography exciting, Alfonso said.
Beck’s tour is in celebration of his new grunge R&B single, “Wow,” according to the auditorium’s website. An album in the same vein is promised to be released Oct. 21.
In 2015, he released a pop-dance single, “Dreams.”
Alfonso said he anticipates the new album will be representative of both singles.
These songs were a dramatic turn from 2014’s album “Morning Phase.” The soft-folk album won three Grammys, including Album of the Year. Near the middle of the concert, Beck traded in his bright yellow electric guitar for an acoustic and played a series of songs from “Morning Phase.”
“You sound a little bit rowdy out there right now,” Beck said to the sitting crowd. “I want to see some animals striking some curious poses right now.”
And with the cue of the Prince reference, the crowd was back on its feet and dancing to the funky pop song.
He threw in a teaser of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” as an intro to his hit “Two Turntables and a Microphone.” He faded out the song in the middle to play a series of teasers to introduce his band. They covered pieces of 1970s and ‘80s hits, including Chic’s “Good Times,” Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Taking it to the Streets” and Prince’s “1999.”
Beck’s show attracted a wide variety of audience members.
“Beck was popular when we were in high school,” Casey Trella, 36, of Evansville said. “I remember when his first album came out with ‘Loser.’”
Fans of the Strokes got a taste of the band’s sound when Valensi opened with his new band CRX.
The group had only played a few shows after first coming together in the beginning of August. Beck played shows with the Strokes last year. For this year’s tour, Valensi and CRX joined Beck in three cities, according to a tweet on the band’s account.
“It’s especially cool to have a Strokes in the house,” Beck said.
CRX will be releasing its first album, “New Skin,” Oct. 28 from Columbia Records.
Beck’s tour is scheduled to end Saturday, according to his website.
Beck rounded out the show with his most recent singles. After briefly giving the audience a lesson on the proper way to “oh, oh, oh,” he then launched into “Dreams,” followed by “Wow.”
“We’ve been working on this record for three years, locked up in a room,” he said. “So I hope you all really like this album.”