It’s A Dream Within A Dream When Beach House Takes The Stage Beach House Transports Oakland To Galaxy "Space Song"
OAKLAND, CA- The second of Beach House’s two sold out shows at Oakland’s mystic art deco temple, the Fox Oakland Theater, was a dream within a dream pop show. Duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally did not disappoint… in fact they wrapped the crowd in a prickly sonic blanket of sound and transported us to galaxy “Space Song”.
Kicking their set off with “Black Car” from their most recent album (7), we saw them only as smoky back-lit stage ghosts, illuminated from behind by white hot spotlights. The lights moved slowly from side to side across the stage as the soft, vibrating wall of sound filled the venue. The crowd was stoked, and you could feel the warmth and welcome and excitement radiating from it.
It’s always nice to be at a show filled with real fans (as opposed to people looking for an excuse to party), and I could tell this was one of those. The crowd cheered within the first few notes of every song – not needing any more time to recognize it than that. Next to us were a couple of best friends—the one had bought them tickets for the other’s birthday. My roommate accompanied me despite the prospect of going into work at 6:00 AM the next on very little sleep. Yep, these were legit fans.
We were pleasantly surprised by how much they played across their discography. I dig the new album and listened to it a lot leading up to the show, but who doesn’t want to hear their old favorites? It was a great mix. The sound wasn’t a huge departure from their studio recordings which is always pleasing and comforting. They know what we like. Literally. On their website, Beach House lists tour dates along with a “setlist creator” link for each show. Fans can click the link to the show(s) they’re attending and choose the top three songs they’d like to hear. This is so rare. We’re all accustomed to bands being setlist dictators: playing only from a most recent album, intentionally omitting the biggest commercial hit, etc. I love that Legrand and Scally care about what their fans want to hear.
The stage lighting morphed into a galaxy of twinkling lights for Space Song and a few others, followed by the trippy projected black and white graphics that accompany 7 if you listen on Spotify or have checked out the recent merch. Drunk in LA is one of my favorites from the new album (possibly because I have a lot of experience with that particular state). Although I’m fully aware of the fact that Beach House originates in Baltimore and are signed to a Seattle-based label, there’s something about their sound, especially on the new album – and not just Drunk in LA – brings to mind a certain LA noir… late night open highways, faded dreams, “ skinny angels making eyes at cameras perched in every room.” If Eve Babitz wrote song lyrics, these would be them.
As the vocals weaved in and out of the instrumental sounds, the crowd was held rapt. The lights changed to what looked like multi-colored auras. The duo didn’t address the crowd all that much, moving from one song directly into another, staying focused on the sound. At one point Victoria said “these two days in Oakland have been very very special,” which the crowd reacted warmly to. Just before the last song, she threw out a little sassy humor, asking, “what do school girls do after school? We can answer that,” before launching into “Girl of the Year.” A solid fan-based show, everyone left on a contented high and probably blasted Beach House the whole way home (I know we did!).