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Coachella Week: 5 observations from the Beach House show

April 15, 2013 at House of Blues

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Beach House got dreamy at the House of Blues Monday night.
Photo: Spencer Burton
Jason Harris

1. I’m probably in the minority on this one, but I was utterly bored midway through this show. It’s impossible not to enjoy the celestial voice of songstress Victoria Legrand, but no one can argue that if you don’t get immersed in the music right away, it’s going to be a long night. I remember them opening for Vampire Weekend at the Pearl in 2010 and I enjoyed them better in that short spurt. Their soft, shoe-gazing style never paces faster than mid-tempo and after a weekend that included new wave dance fathers New Order, upbeat indie pop darlings Vampire Weekend, and pedal-to-the-medal New York punkers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I just couldn’t get into it. Had this show taken place a week ago, I might have felt a completely different way about it.

2. A worrying trend that I also noted at Vampire Weekend is the complete lack of interaction between performer and audience. Very little was said onstage, once again making me feel as if I walked into a studio to watch the band record. Obviously the music comes first, but I’m a big believer in making the experience organic to the night and as an audience member I don’t want to feel like I could have seen the exact same show three months ago or three months from now.

3. None of this is to say the Baltimore based group isn’t talented, because they really are. With just three members—Legrand on vocals and keyboards, Alex Scally on guitar and keyboards and touring addition Daniel Franz on drums—they create a much larger sound than might be expected. With layers upon layers, there is a soothing density in songs like “Norway” and “Take Care” that hit the sweet spot.

4. I loved the background set, which featured large string or chord constructions shaped like buildings. Images and colors projected off of them looked crisp and distinctive, giving the stage an exceptional look.

5. I did see a number of people attempting to dance, which is not easy to do with dream pop music. Fists were slowly pumping in the attentive crowd, giving many the emotional reaction I wanted, but did not have.

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