Beach House isn’t quite a household name – unless that house is home to Pitchfork buffs. That having been said, the band’s popularity has grown immensely since they formed in 2004 and they have now garnered a committed and enthusiastic following. Last time they were here they played to a small but devoted crowd at the Rickshaw.
This dream-pop duo, made up of Alex Scally on guitar and keyboard and Victoria Legrand on vocals and organ, has more recently been touring with drummer Daniel J. Franz to complete the band’s full-fledged sound. Beach House released their fourth album Bloom earlier this year, with tunes you can hear in any hip bar in Gastown.
They’re self described genre, “Outer Space Sound”, is actually pretty accurate. Their sound could be listened to whilst floating in space – or it could be from a John Hughes movie set on a spaceship.
The mood at the Commodore Monday night was set for a chill and visually tasty evening. The crowd milled about in a blue and purple haze and as the lights dimmed, an excited cheer erupted along with a perfectly timed puff of smoke near the front of the stage. Playing their first tune completely back-lit, it was a bit like aliens landing and performing an awesome concert for us earthlings. Legrand’s voice along with the heavy synth was hypnotizing and powerful. The crowd swayed to some older tunes and even threw up the rock symbol here and there. Their new stuff sounded amazing. I already loved it and the sound not only stayed true but surpassed the album. Legrand didn’t need to speak much but when she did, she made it count.
“How’re you guys doing out there?”
“Well, I’m f**king hot up here.”
“We love you too.”
She didn’t have to talk much because the crowd was tuned in fully. The set and the lighting was incredible. It was a full-rounded show which I can’t say for every show I’ve seen at the Commodore – the genre of music calls for a visual, even multimedia display, and Beach House delivered. Slated flats behind the three perched performers were used both to project film excerpts (a beaming figure skater) and as a base for blasts of colour here and there. Giant fans behind the flats began to turn slowly and projected white beams of light that danced across the crowd.
The band’s songs don’t have any great arc or even crescendo for the most part, which is why it makes for such easy listening. The three talented musicians make it easy to hop on their magical, mystery spaceship and take a ride through the twinkling stars of songs. Somebody wanting to rock out might have been disappointed but for me, it made for a pretty groovy Monday night.