Beach House concert review – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall – 09.17.15
As a college student living in Cleveland, it takes a great deal for me to drop everything and drive 2.5 hours to Columbus for a concert (especially on a weeknight). However, when I heard that Baltimore natives Beach House were appearing at Newport Music Hall, I immediately cleared all obligations scheduled for September 17 on my calendar, and I’m sure glad I did!
The duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally hit the road just after the release of their album ‘Depression Cherry’ which dropped on August 28 via Sub Pop Records. Traditionally, bands gear their tours around their most recent album, composing a setlist heavily loaded with new material, filled in by fan favorites. Beach House strayed from this path and took a unique approach on their current trek. On the group’s website they posted a set list generator, where fans from every city on the tour could submit their top three favorite Beach House songs from any album and the duo would base their setlist of of the votes. This goes to show how much love Legrand and Scally have for their fans and that they truly wanted the tour to be as amazing for the fans as possible.
The night was how any Beach House listener would think it would go: completely magical. Since the audience picked the set list, fans hung on every word Legrand sang: singing, swaying, and clapping along to every beautiful note. New songs from ‘Depression Cherry’ like “Space Song” and “PPP” showed off the melody-based, simpler sound the band chose to experiment with on the album, while songs like “Lazuli” and “10 Mile Stereo” from ‘Bloom’ (2012) and ‘Teen Dream’ (2010) respectively featured the band’s more traditional sound with smooth but rhythmic keyboard rifts and long, smooth guitar patterns. Regardless of if you were a new or old Beach House fan, the set contained something for everyone’s taste, and although many fans agree that some Beach House songs sound pretty much the same, the live element of the performance gave each song it’s own unique character.
That extra push came not only from the simply beauty of hearing the songs live, but also from the lighting the band chose to use. Nothing but backlights were used to illuminate the stage (much to the dismay of our Cleverock photographer) and three long sheer curtains hung parallel to each other in the back, giving the stage a hauntingly beautiful look that fit perfectly with Beach House’s sound. It was the perfect way to tie it all together and make the night memorable.
To kick off the night, Beach House brought along singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt from San Francisco to serenade the crowd with her gentle voice and acoustic guitar. Pratt was a unique choice as an opener because her slow acoustic songs don’t exactly get a crowd pumped up like most openers do, but instead, simply captivated the audience and got them listening. Though fans weren’t dancing, jumping or clapping, they were certainly entranced by Pratt’s performance, grabbing their attention with her sing-song voice and reeling them in with each strum of her guitar.