Beach House House of Blues September 19, 2012
It's been two years since Baltimore dream-team Beach House visited Houston. When they played Walter's in 2010, we foresaw bigger things for them -- a bigger stage, to be exact. Our vision was accurate: Beach House played to a near sold-out crowd at House of Blues Wednesday night.
Having previously seen Beach House in larger settings as well (including a 2009 SXSW performance at Auditorium Shores and Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival in 2010), House of Blues was a nice mid-size venue to host a band in the thick of their rise to fame.
The trio opened their set with "Wild," from this year's Bloom, a slow haze of smoke and dim lights creating a beguiling aura that paired perfectly with their atmospheric sound.
"Thank you for being here," Victoria said, in her first address to the crowd. She stood center-stage, wedged between guitarist Alex Scally and touring drummer Daniel Franz. Sporting a structured black blazer and slacks, Legrand followed suit to the androgynous onstage style she described in our interview last week.
With layers of sleepy guitar tones and enchanting, reverbed vocals, Beach House shows and their recordings are pretty closely aligned; chances are, if you like one, you'll like the other.
The trio pulled from each of their albums throughout their hour-and-a-half set - except for their self-titled debut, which was overlooked on this tour.
"Norway," however, the single and standout track from 2010's Teen Dream, was a set highlight, as thousands of tiny twinkle lights appeared against the dark backdrop.
"Gila" was another highpoint, as the band dipped back into 2008's Devotion. (As cool of a performance it was, the lighters raised in the crowd didn't seem necessary; they never have, post-1985.)
"We're very lucky to have you here," Victoria said. "Thank you for your energy."
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Innocent bystanders at House of Blues would have assumed it was a raging Saturday night, the way much of the crowd was slamming back Miller Lite tallboys (?!) and (some) lighting up joints. To us, Beach House hardly sounds like the soundtrack to a beer-drenched frat party, but many House of Blues patrons seemed to disagree, as they mingled throughout the set, maneuvered in and out of the crowd for fresh beers, and, apparently, threw their empty ones onstage.
After "New Year," Legrand paused to address the crowd.
"You guys are awesome," she began, "But don't throw shit at me."
Unfortunately, we were witnessing yet another musician scolding an unruly and disrespectful House of Blues crowd.
"There's enthusiasm," she explained, "But then there's just distraction from the show. If you throw shit at me, I'm not gonna play," she warned.
It was an unfortunate and embarrassing moment for Houston, but was evidently a necessary warning; the crowd seemed to warm up and simmer down (kind of) after that.
Thankfully, Legrand stuck around to deliver other favorites like "Take Care," as well as one encore, finally closing out with "Irene."
Ultimately, we hope Beach House returns to town someday. And we hope if or when that day comes, that you won't throw shit at them again, Houston.
Personal Bias: I like Beach House, a lot. I was mortified when Legrand called out the crowd. Houston, why pay dough to see a show if you're going to talk, get shitfaced, and throw shit at the artists you paid to see? It's ridiculous behavior, and humiliating for those in the crowd who are actually respectful of performers and interested in seeing and listening to the band.
The Crowd: Whatever.
Overheard in the Crowd: Indecipherable chatting.
Random Notebook Dump: My hair still smells like popcorn from the House of Blues concession area.
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