Maybe it was the fact that Beach House singer Victoria Legrand’s birthday was the following day. The very alive frontwoman/keyboardist brought some extra energy to the band’s show last night at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. She let out a few extra howls during “PPP” and “Wishes” while making the keyboard seem like the least boring instrument on stage. It was toward the end of the trio’s set that Legrand admitted she it was her birthday eve. Though she tried to shush them, a small group in the audience broke into “Happy Birthday to You.”
The club was packed tight with many young fans of the band. Even though Beach House had been to South Florida twice before, for several audience members this would clearly be the first time seeing them live. It’s a good sign that this duo from Baltimore, which also includes Alex Scally on guitar, has vitality and staying power, despite often being accused of a sound that hardly evolves from album to album. I’ve always believed Beach House’s music rewards attentive listening, and considering the amount of people singing along, there is a growing audience who is listening closely.
Despite often recording with a drum machine, they had a live drummer. This time it was James Barone, who performed gloriously, adding the heft that is sometimes missing from the airy dream pop songs of Beach House, who I have only ever seen accompanied by a live drummer.
This was the first time I had seen the band without any light-up props, however. Instead, it was about a well-coordinated light show on a silver screen behind the band, like the pulsing white lights that reinforced the chiming, electro beat of “Levitation,” which kicked off the set. There were many moments when more dramatic effects earned cheers from the audience. But it was a mostly dark show of watching silhouettes. Early on, during “Wild,” the smoke got so thick on stage those further back lost sight of the band. “Walk in the Park” featured Legrand bathed in a channel of blue light, until the beautiful refrain of the song’s ending, when the stage was set aglow in orange.
Finally, as for those songs I requested when I bought my ticket, they played two out of the three. “PPP” was the first. It began in darkness with Scally’s beautiful crystalline guitar line. Legrand did her sing-speak in darkness, until she sang “Did you see it coming?” and the stage lit up with a star field behind the band. For the chorus, a projection resembling the shimmering of the Northern Lights appeared behind the trio. The stage went back to darkness for the next chorus until the lights returned with “It won’t last forever,” and so on. It was a beautiful union of lyrics, music and lights with an extended ending featuring Legrand giving some extra tremolo to the “ahs” at the end of the song.
Toward the end of the set was “Elegy to the Void.” The song was beautifully rendered. Barone controlled the percussive fade-in that did respectful justice to the song’s gradual crescendo of layers. Speaking of layers, this track marked the first time I had ever seen Legrand pick up an electric guitar. As giant stars looped and faded into each other, creating twirling blue lines of patterns behind the band, the song continued to swell. She accompanied Scally’s soaring guitar solo by plucking out a contrasting melody. The song built it’s momentum toward a sudden but well-earned flash of a finale.
It was a nice show, with no technical glitches to note and Legrand seeming more chatting than usual (Before “Master of None,” she asked the audience, “Bad girls, where my bad my girls at?”). It was, however, quite crowded for a show at Revolution Live, and one had to wonder if it was not just sold out but over capacity. Someone actually fainted twice by the bar. There were people there on mind-altering substances, so who knows, but it certainly got hot in the usually well air-conditioned space. It’s also a smaller venue than the two previous settings I have seen Beach House at, the Fillmore Miami Beach. Maybe they can return there, as they continue to hold a relevance in the world of alternative rock and certainly draw adoring numbers of fans.
- Walk in the Park
- Equal Mind
- Space Song
- 10 Mile Stereo
- Master Of None
- Elegy to the Void
- Take Care
- Wherever You Go
The tour continues tonight in Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, then thusly through Europe and back to the United States:
- May 28 Ponte Vedra FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
- May 30 Athens GA – The Georgia Theatre
- May 31 Knoxville TN – The Mill & Mine
- Jun. 2 New York – Governors Ball
UK & Europe
- Aug. 11 Copenhagen, Denmark – Haven
- Aug. 13 Castelbuono, Italy – Ypsigrock
- Aug. 16 Sestri Levante, Italy – Mojotic Festival
- Aug. 18 Parades de Coura, Portugal – Parades de Coura Festival
- Sept. 23 Los Angeles – Hollywood Bowl w/ Fleet Foxes
- Sept. 24 Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre
- Sept. 25 Santa Fe – Santa Fe Opera
- Sept. 27 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre w/ Fleet Foxes
Buy tickets through Beach House’s website for an opportunity to influences the set list by picking out three songs you would like to see them play on the night of the show.