Beach House at The Enmore, Sydney
From humble beginnings back in 2006 with Apple Orchard being featured on a Pitchfork best of mixtape, they have come full circle in 2013 with their latest offering, Bloom, featured on many ‘Best of’ lists for 2012, along with a happy slot at #7 in Pitchfork’s year in review, #9 in Something You Said’s albums of the year and lead single Myth making it to many indie top 10 song lists.
Often a band with such hype can fall flat when it comes to the spectacle of live performance, but Beach House (with years of playing experience behind them) took to the stage at the Enmore and delivered above and beyond expectations.
The Baltimore duo emerged with presence after a pretty captivating opening set from Melbourne’s Wintercoats, whom they re-invited to join them after last year’s tour. Wintercoats helped set the tone with intricate violin/vocal loops, closing with a haunting cover of TLC’s No Scrubs, turning the RnB anthem into a chaotic classical pastiche.
As the hushed murmur turned to a still, the opening strains of Wild pumped out across the stage to ecstatic screams and sighs, the captivated audience at the Enmore huddled together (the smell of smuggled marijuana wafting through the air), to hang on every note, as though Victoria Legrand stood before the crowd like a priestess giving a sermon.
What is so special about Beach House is they have this great ability in their songwriting for the listener to take a voyage with their emotions; to truly be lost within a song so perfectly crafted with pathos you feel it’s pushing its way into your very core. Supported by the cocooning effect of Alex Scally’s guitar and foot peddle work and Daniel Franz (who joins as a live drummer on tour) drumming, it is Victoria’s organ work and commanding voice that truly steals the show and arrests the audience, forcing those standing to act as reeds bending to her will, but never breaking.
The song selection was Bloom heavy, with no inclusion of Heart of Chambers a song that definitely helped them reach new audiences with their 2008 album, Devotion. Definite set highlights were when Beach House announced they were “going back in time” to play Master of None, and when Alex Scally announced, “everyone should make-out” to Silver Soul (described by the pair before as a song to make out to after a lovers tiff) causing the many friends, lovers and acquaintances to turn to each other and do what red blooded humans do best, have a slow pash; (I say slow because hipsters never do anything quickly, except reblog on tumblr). Once the intimate mood was set, songs like Take Care and Myth drove the close home with Victoria’s mantra “Help me to make it / Help me to make it” echoing through the bodies before her and out into the still fresh night.
Opting for crowd pleasers, it was hard to say Beach House could do any wrong really, and the slightly modest audience I suspect was only because those who didn’t see them at Falls Festival were ironically seeing Mariah Carey on the same night.
Seemingly more confident and open than on their Teen Dream tour (2011), they presented their set skillfully with great musicianship and sophistication – an aspect sometimes lost in ‘indie’ acts. From the minimalist set which sparkled as a frosted sky, perfectly accompanying the songs and stage direction, the mutterings around the room seemed to be that the dream-pop experience was transcendent; and the Victoria Legrande could certainly “whip her hair”.
Everyone agreed, it was a great beginning to 2013.
Set List: Wild / Walk In The Park / Other People / Lazuli / Gila / Norway / Master Of None / Silver Soul / The Hours / On The Sea / New Year / Zebra / Wishes / Take Care / Myth // 10 Mile Stereo / Irene
Words and picture by Jack Colwell