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Friday, March 15, 2013

Hypnotized by Beach House

Beach House (+ Marquis Tolliver). Sala Apolo, March 13th.

Beach House at Apolo. Photo: Bloodbuzzed 
It was my second time watching Beach House live, but to me is like I have been in front of two completely different bands. The Fly Me To The Moon gig on July 2011 wasn't a bad gig. On the contrary, the place, the open air location without massification on a pleasant summer night was quite special. I also remember the visuals and the magnetic atmosphere created. But this past Wednesday at Apolo was something else. Something more.

Mr. Tolliver. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
And the start wasn't that promising. Beach House is now a "hipster" band without discussion. So occasional fans or people that just "have to be there" abounded at a extremely packed Apolo (sold out both nights). Of course, that means annoying people worried about their Iphone not about the music, and a usually pretty and comfortable venue transformed into an unreasonable sauna.

Besides, we have the issue of the support act, Marques Tolliver. Curious? Yes. Intriguing? Sure, for a little while, a guy that shows up with just a violin and his voice in front of an audience that doesn't have a clue about your music was something. But it quickly felt flat, seriously flat at least for me... and extremely short! 5-6 tunes and over! I can see his talents... but the songs didn't sound that impressive or even original. Let's concede the doubt of how a gifted musician like Marques might improve backed by a full band.

Scally & Legrand. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Anyway, after an extremely long wait on which hipsters... sorry, people, fought to have the best possible position, Beach House appeared on stage. It was immediate communion with the audience, and the Baltimore duo, a trio live, didn't waste a second to focus exclusively in the music. And on a much more intimate distance, you can see the band really lost themselves into their songs. Victoria Legrand bursts of energy, with its shaking mane of hair, is one of the most iconic images music has given in latest years.

Setlist was nearly flawless, although that's not that surprising considering it was virtually reduced to “Teen Dream” and “Bloom tunes. Arguably the only low points of the gig were oldies "Gila” and "Apple Orchard", but the rest of the was a succession of dream pop hits, wonderfully played. Scally's guitar lines perfectly drawing melody lines in between the keyboards haze, and Legrand's voice, sometimes subtle, sometimes thunderous, always intense and emotional.

Magic band live. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Many songs stood out.“The Hours”, "Silver Soul", Zebra”, "Wishes" or the immense "Take Care" under the starry night created by the stage visuals (less striking that the ones used two years ago, but wonderfully merged with the songs). But it wouldn't be fair to just highlight some tunes. From opener "Wild" to closing "Irene", Beach House's gig has to be celebrated as a whole, as a unique cohesive experience, like a collective hypnosis session. Hypnotized by music. A wonderful way to escape from ourselves for a while.

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