Beach House at the Orpheum Theatre, 8/12/18
Sunday night the Baltimore indie-pop group Beach House played their long awaited show at the Orpheum. Old friends connected, new friends were made as the luxurious hallways filled up for the Vancouver stop on a west coast stint of an international tour for Beach House’s new album: 7.
This album marks a culmination, more than a decade in the making, of a consistent and unique sound. 7 maintains the lyrical and dusky melodies of singer Victoria LeGrande, the virtuosity of multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally and makes it bigger—especially since they are joined with their touring drummer James Barone on the album.
Popcorn, beer, candy and smiles were all throughout the baroque style sit down theatre as Sound of Ceres, the opening act, took the stage. Featuring cold, ethereal vocals and booming synths, the band wowed the audience with their inter-dimensional cyber witchcraft. The lead singer, dressed in reflective material, danced in the beam of light that created 3-D shapes on stage. It was a sonically and visually enchanting set.
During the break between bands, the theatre filled up almost completely. The crowd was well dressed and rather young—anticipation was tangible as the Sound of Ceres worked to tear down their intricate set and Beach House’s simple, to-the-point arrangement was constructed.
Beach House came in immediately with their rhythmic song “Black Car” from 7 which features a bouncing synth that borders on a hip-hop beat. Next they went straight into an older song “Silver Soul” and the crowd was hooked. Someone nearby leaned over to their friend and said, “Wow, people really love them.” And it’s true, as the band worked their way through a set that featured a nice mix that relied heavily on the sheer volume of their new tracks, the enthusiasm of the crowd only grew.
Primary colored backdrops, strobes, and silhouettes augmented the music. A certain degree of virtual intimacy was added by the cameras that would project LeGrande’s fingers on the keys and Scally’s guitar playing onto the massive projection screen behind them.
Other noteworthy tracks were “Sparks’, “10 Mile Stereo” and “To Die in La.” Legrande, dressed in an all black loose leather suit, head-banged and got down as Scally switched from keys to guitar to bass, all the while operating the pedals of his organ. The feeling on stage was projected to the audience as strobe lights filled the theatre, saturating the place with lights and framing a crescendo. Everyone was made to feel the weight of the trembling present.
At one point the band thanked the audience, and Scally noted that their first great show as a band was at the downtown east-side’s own Pat’s Pub in 2006–to which LeGrande quipped “30 years ago.”
Raucous applause saw the band off the stage, and the clapping continued for almost five minutes before the band returned for an encore of “Myth” and “Dive.” The band encouraged the audience to get up and move around, and as they broke into their final jam people began filing down the aisles. Some folks were getting emotional, people were hugging their loved ones, and most were feeling the music on a personal level.
Beach House proves again and again that their sound is more than soft, dreamy bedroom pop and that they can fill a theatre like the Orpheum with magisterial sound.