Beach House's sold out show at the Trocadero, February 24th.
I love live music. I love going to shows to see live performances of music I have fallen in love with through my headphones. But I have to say, I normally hate the accompanying light shows. I understand that back in the era of Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix and all those musical giants that the light show was a big deal, when the light show was as much a part of the show as the music was. But that, in my opinion, is a long lost art (at least in the shows that I attend these days). Nothing annoys me more than being really into a performance when all the sudden I am blinded because the dude operating those super bright spotlights decides to swing them around in all different directions and right into my unsuspecting eyes. Then my damaged retinas are forced to see spots for fifteen minutes only to be assaulted again after they finally are able to recover. I’m there for the music, not for the cheesy light show behind it.
That said, I have to say Beach House is a band that has this whole lighting thing figured out. They came out on stage standing in front of three weird tent-like figures that ended up being muted light sources, silhouetting the figures of the Beach House duo and their touring drummer throughout the entire show. The band played for over an hour and we in the audience rarely saw more than shadowy half-light cast over their faces. Given the haunting feel of their music, this lighting concept was perfect. This simple lighting scheme was used for the first couple songs, opening with “Gila” off their 2008 album Devotion and “Better Times” from their 2010 release Teen Dream. Halfway through “Norway,” as singer Victoria Legrande belts out the name of the song, a dazzling black backdrop where light shown through in star like patterns was illumined behind the band. It sounds slightly corny describing it here, but I promise it wasn’t.
For the most part, the show was comprised of songs from the band’s most recent album, but they also treated us to a new song and a couple less recent ones. The end of the set came with “Take Care,” my personal favorite from Teen Dream. I wasn’t expecting an encore with such a strong ending, and was actually on the verge of being disappointed when the band took the stage again. I loved the energy behind “Take Care” and didn’t know if I wanted the show to end any other way. But I should’ve had more trust in the Beach House due, because the encore was perfect. Playing “Real Love” then “10 Mile Stereo,” the show ended even better than I could have hoped. It was great.
Throughout the show, Victoria addressed the crowd only a couple times. She thanked us for coming out, said hello to family and friends who were in attendance and told us that she saw one of her first concerts at the Trocadero when she was 11. She kept her comments to the crowd short, and there was never any question about what we were all there for: the music.