Not just one, but two new albums under the belt this tour – it’s an embarrassment of riches for the Baltimore pair, and it’s a cheery bank holiday sell-out crowd to soak it up. Always an aura of detachment about them live, you can be mesmerised and lost at a Beach House concert, so a backlit band was par for the course as we slide in via Depression Cherry’s sweet ’Levitation’. It’s a song that strips the band bare and perhaps needs a warm-up to it and it seems a bit awkward as they settle in.
Victoria Legrand can go from a standing start into a hair-whipping frenzy but she’s keeping the powder dry and remains calm and still backlit as they reach Teen Dream for the first time.’Walk in the Park’ should be that moment where you lie on a blanket and the music picks you up by all four corners, but we’re not enveloped. The echoey “in a matter of time, it will slip from my mind” does provide a fuzzy feeling but the band come across as distracted.
Into the middle we go and we are still waiting to be lost, but not giving up. ‘Silver Soul’ is the much needed shot we had been waiting for, Legrand’s “it’s happened again…” floats like vapour trails after the song is finished. The starry backdrop pulses and the magic rises briefly, glimmers and dissipates again. But soon, just before it gets too late, ‘Myth’ brings a great rise from the crowd. Up above the stars, searchlights pan the crowd. Something brilliant crackles in the air. Layers keep landing in the song. Momentary bliss. Our end-of-set wig out comes with ’10 Mile Stereo’, trailing “forever…” into the air. Aah yes.
The first song they wrote, ‘Saltwater’ is more like cold water on the previously raised atmosphere and as they rise slightly again with ‘Sparks’, then leave us, they leave a ‘Zebra’/‘Norway’ shaped hole in our night. Goods were delivered but it was more Amazon than a love letter. We have been in love at Beach House concerts, and though detachment is part of their setup they had hardly any mood to cloak it in tonight – not much femme fatale smoke to stare through.
Beach House photographed for State by Leah Carroll