Fillmore Miami Beach
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Better Than: Hitting the snooze button ... Forever.
Beach House is from Baltimore?!?
If The Wire had been set in Beach House's Baltimore, it'd be about the gritty world of selling homemade blankets on Etsy.
If Baltimore were more like the way Beach House sounded at the Fillmore Miami Beach last night, soft-shell crab season wouldn't be from April to September but whenever a crab wearing four pairs of skinny jeans gets its heart broken.
Put another way, Beach House's show was a thing of aching, impossible beauty. Fog rolled across the stage and backlighting made a corona of Victoria Legrand's long shag of hair. There was a tension in the presentation, as if at any moment the pyrotechnics might fire and the Nuge would strut out onto the stage to strangle his whammy bar. Instead, Legrand sang.
When Victoria Legrand sings, otherworldly isn't a fair word to describe it. Because the implication is that there is a world somewhere that can claim that voice as its own.
Legrand's voice is the key ingredient to Beach House's narcotized haze, blending in and out of the warm, fuzzy keyboards and then desperately shaking the nodding songs back to life while Alex Scally's guitar and occasional harmonies glaze the songs with a shimmer and the addition of a live drummer beefs up the rhythms.
Legrand did headbang a few times, but to songs that would barely set the front porch of a Cracker Barrel rocking. Other than a few blasts of strobe, the stage was washed in gold or purple glow, raked by lights filtered through wooden slats. Other times, it was cloaked in total darkness.
The setlist mostly consisted of newer songs, including over half of Beach House's most recent album, Teen Dream, and all but one of the ten officially listed tracks from new album, Bloom, due to be released next week. The other two tracks of the 17-song show were a B-side and a song from their second album.
That early song, "Turtle Island," perfectly captured what's most magical about Beach House live. The recorded cut is sparse, letting Legrand's voice peter out at the end of the "In all colors and sizes/You will always remain" climax. But at the Fillmore, Legrand hit a huge note on "remain." Couples swiveled to look into each other's eyes. Groups of friends put their arms around each other. Lonely indie boys and girls sighed.
Seeing Beach House in concert gives one the sense of remembering something really important and special that hasn't happened yet. Legrand's voice is what it sounds like when you wake up on a Saturday at your usual work time and then realize it's safe to slip back into sleep. Maybe there's someone really good-looking lying next to you.
And for the record, Legrand and Scally are both really good-looking.
Personal Bias: My favorite part of catching a cold is the Benadryl.
The Crowd: Lots of couples, girl in front and guy behind with his arms around her waist.
Overheard in the Crowd: Beach House wins over an audience member who'd been telling his friends all night that he's "a douchebag and people need to be okay with that," adding, "I was expecting more rock than roll. But this is still pretty good!"
Beach House's Setlist:
-"Walk in the Park"
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-"10 Mile Stereo"