The drum machine sounds and provides a steady beat for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally to enter the small intimate stage. For such a unique and particular sound, Alex had been on the stage a few minutes beforehand to tune his guitar, but the element of excitement is still there when they step out on stage together as Beach House.
‘Walk in the Park’, which boasts a powerful chorus kicks off the sold-out gig and has the crowd swaying from side to side from the get-go. Victoria’s voice echoes around the tiny Bush Hall venue and sends tingles down my spine. She is captivating- wearing an oversized blazer and uncombed hair, her natural beauty shines through. What was once a shy and timid voice builds up into a note perfect ensemble of both their new songs and old favourites such as ‘Master of None’ and ‘Gila’- both make the crowd lust after her. The chandeliers that provided dim lighting before the band surfaced sparkle in the darkness and create an alluring atmosphere that is the perfect backdrop for their phantasmagoria outlook and dream pop collective sound.
The gig itself turns into a showcase for their latest album with ‘Zebra’, ‘Mile Stereo’ and ‘Used to Be’ all getting a chance to prove how much their sound has developed since their debut album. New single ‘Norway’ which was available on 7” on the night sped up the dream-like set and certainly awakened the dreary crowd. The lyric ‘We were sleeping ‘til you came along’ never seemed more apt.
An encore rendition of Teen Dream’s finale ‘Take Care’ is teamed with sparkling lights that illuminate the disco ball and shows how much they care themselves about their music and their fans. It was a far cry from the moody set of last summer when I saw them at one o’clock in the morning. Victoria lends her vocals to the folk inspired sounds of Grizzly Bear and Beach House will be supporting them on their own European tour- a definite must see.
The support of this gig however came for the highly recommended Lawrence Arabia who is tipped for success in 2010. Not one to make it on time to catch the support act, this was a pleasant surprise. The harmonies that gelled the Lawrence and his band in opening song ‘Apple Pie Bed’ were enough to grab my attention and give Fleet Foxes a run for their money. The humble singer/songwriter barely spoke to the crowd in his New Zealand accent, but when he did it validated the stunning songs he sang. My personal favourite on the night was ‘The Undesirables’ but the lyrics of ‘The Beautiful Young Crew’ got a chuckle from the crowd- ‘They hate each other, but they really love each other, because they wanna screw each other’- So true. His pop/folk rock/psychedelic sound will fit in perfectly at Green Man festival this summer, and he and the band embark on a warm up tour ‘Over the Green Hills’ this Spring with Cate LeBon and Marques Tolivier.
Here's a taster of the encore- definitely already a highlight of 2010 for me!