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There are shows you go to and walk away from, thinking you’ve seen the best performance of your life. But, then again, you probably haven’t seen Baltimore’s Beach House live yet. The indie favorites are favorites because of their four luscious and emotional studio albums, but seeing them perform their tracks live and in a confined setting gives them exponentially more dramatic and fresh dimensions. As such, they provided an incredibly stellar performance at El Rey Theatre Tuesday night, hitting every single note in the “How To Put On An Awesome Concert” handbook.

Let’s just start with their simple stage setup versus how powerful they actually sound onstage. You have vocalist Victoria Legrand centered with her mic and keyboards; Alex Scally to your left with a few digitizers and pedals, his mics, and his one guitar; and a percussion set from touring member Daniel J. Franz on the right. The presence was there and the stage was decorated with striped supports, but when they played “Wild” or “Gila,” it was as if Beach House was opening for a stage arena. They were as forceful and loud as they needed to be, even when they sounded as if they had more performers on the stage. It was simple and elegant.


Photos by Melissa Karlin

The staging itself was rather bare, providing an air of mystery as to how any of it would come into play during the performance. The striped supports were hollow save for moving fans, in which case the supports looked more like sets of air conditioners. But it all made a difference when lighting came in. Deeply saturated reds, purples, and blues permeated through the supports as the fans twirled, shifting the balance of light as tracks got more progressive.

But even the lighting around the rest of the stage was very conceptual. Stars lit up an otherwise black backdrop on tracks like “Norway,” dazzling against a midnight blue foreground. Shadows were cast on band members throughout most of the show, rarely revealing their features as if to add to the dreamlike sway of their music. Tracks like “New Year” and “Ten Mile Stereo” used drastic lighting changes on their respective beats, creating a visual show for an audience probably not expecting one.

Those entering the show hoping Beach House would perform their favorite tracks were supremely satisfied, as the band played tracks from their latest album, Bloom, as well as a host of songs from their previous records. But as anticipated, their live renditions were even more immaculate than their studio counterparts. Victoria’s vocals swooned over the crowd, and Alex’s vocal and guitar work was endearing.

They were loud, they had presence, and they had a spectacular setup — the three things you need to put on an awesome concert. In short, Beach House is one of the few live acts I will say you need to see, and they were certainly one of the best if not the best live acts I’ve seen so far this year. They’ll be on tour in the US for the rest of July before heading out on a European Tour, but they’ll be back in the States and in LA soon enough, so be sure to check out tour dates down below. Their latest album, Bloom, is now available on various formats from Sub Pop Records.

Beach House Tour Dates

07/06 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up *
07/07 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater *
07/09 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom *
07/10 – Lawrence, KS – Liberty Hall *
07/11 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant *
07/12 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall *
07/13 – Louisville, KY – Forestcastle Festival
07/15 – Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
07/17 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue *
07/18 – Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom *
07/19 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues *
07/20 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall *
07/21 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre *
07/23 – New York, NY – Central Park SummerStage
08/24 – Katowice, Poland – Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival
08/26 – Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, France – Rock En Seine
08/27 – Groningen, Netherlands – Vera
08/28 – Duisburg, Germany – Grammatikof
08/29 – Frankfurt, Germany – Das Bett
08/31 – Sussex, England – End of the Road Festival
09/13 – Richmond, VA – The National
09/14 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
09/15 – Nashville , TN – Marathon Music Works
09/16 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
09/18 – New Orleans, LA – Tipitina’s
09/19 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues
09/20 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
09/21 – Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom
09/24 – Tuscon, AZ – Rialto Theatre
09/25 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
09/26 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
09/28 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
09/29 – Eugene, OR – McDonald Theatre
09/30 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
10/01 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore Ballroom
10/03 – Seattle, WA – Showbox at the Market
10/04 – Seattle, WA – Showbox at the Market
10/05 – Boise, ID – The Egyptian Theatre
10/07 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
10/08 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
10/09 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
10/10 – Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theatre
10/11 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
10/13 – Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
10/14 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda
10/15 – Boston, MA – Wilbur Theatre
10/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
10/17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10/26 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – Mandela Hall
10/28 – Dublin, Ireland – Vicar Street
10/29 – Glasgow, UK – The Arches
10/30 – Leeds, UK – Stylus at Leeds University
10/31 – Manchester, United Kingdom – HMV Manchester Ritz
11/02 – London, UK – Roundhouse
11/03 – Bristol, Avon UK – Anson Rooms
11/05 – Hamburg, Germany – Kampnagel
11/06 – Copenhagen V, Denmark – Vega Main Hall
11/07 – Stockholm, Sweden – Berns Salonger
11/08 – Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene
11/10 – Berlin, Germany – Astra Kulturhaus
11/12 – Prague, 5 Czech Republic – MeetFactory
11/13 – Vienna, Austria – Flex
11/14 – Munich, Germany – Feierwerk
11/16 – Cologne, Germany – Gloria Theater
11/17 – Lausanne, Switzerland – Les Docks
11/18 – Brussels, Belgium – AB Club
11/19 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso

* with Wild Nothing

For more info: Beach House Official Website