Beach House kicked off their final tour of 2017 with a concert last Friday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. The small venue was a dream come true for all fans of the legendary dream-pop duo, given the close, intimate nature of their songs.
Until this summer, it had been nearly two years since the group had last put out new music. In July, they released B-Sides and Rarities, a collection of demos and alternate versions to some of their most revered songs, as well as some previously unreleased material. Simply put, I was really anticipating this show. Beach House has certainly become one of my favorite bands in recent time, and their albums Teen Dream and Bloom are personal favorites of mine.
It was no surprise that we walked into a sold out show. The only time I had ever seen The Observatory more packed was for some guy named Kendrick Lamar. The vibe was crazy. Without any openers, you could feel the suspense building for what would be an all-time memory for so many fans.
Coming out to much applause, Beach House opened with “Levitation”, the space-romance crescendo from 2015’s Depression Cherry. This would be one of many songs that felt magnified in live performance compared to on record. Next, followed the riveting “Wild” and the bellowing riffs of “Walk in the Park”.
As expected, the music was unbelievably captivating from the get-go. You could feel the presence of the band on the stage. Accompanied by colorful backlight and dressed in dark, dramatic clothing, their already majestic aura ascended into what seemed like another universe, specially created for their performance.
They continued to hold the crowd in a trance, guiding them with the hypnotic keys of “The Traveller” and the ethereal “Space Spong”. It was so intriguing watching each member play. Their body antics would often match the tone of the music. That type of energy makes it so easy for the audience to engage with the performer, a concept they clearly had down.
The show then reached its climax with “10 Mile Stereo”. What blew me away about this specific song, was just how amplified each of the instruments were. The song naturally sticks out in Beach House’s discography for its fast-paced rhythm, but the live performance was outright overwhelming. The drums were so intensified you could feel them booming in your chest with each beat.
The show progressed back into slow motion with “Master of None” and a first time performance of “Chariot”, an unreleased track from B-Sides. “Take Care”, one of the band’s most endearing tunes, was also another highlight.
An inevitable encore brought the band back out to close with “Myth”, one of their most beloved songs. As they walked off the stage, I couldn’t help but be impressed by their professionalism. Aside from a couple ‘thank you’s’, they just kept playing. They knew why people were there and they didn’t fuck around. As for the music, the show was so intimate that it was almost unbearable. It was full of emotional shifts and dreamlike vibes. Such an atmosphere could only be described as sublime.
Beach House might not have much left to say in terms of creative output, but after last Friday, one thing was evident: multiple classic albums and over a decade of experience has translated into the complete mastering of the live show. From their visual display to their musicianship, their stage presence was flawless, beyond critique – a craft many artists can only hope to perfect.
Beach House Set List – Observatory OC – 9.22.17
- Walk in the Park
- The Traveller
- Silver Soul
- Space Song
- 10 Mile Stereo
- Master Of None
- Elegy to the Void
- Take Care
- Wherever You Go (Encore)
- Myth (Encore)