Very few acts would be well-advised to consistently produce records that follow a formula to produce a fairly linear career. Even fewer acts would consistently gain more traction commercially and critically by following such a routine, boasting impressive vinyl sales and a tour schedule that seems to never cease. Beach House is one of the most impressive alternative acts for many reasons, including those listed above, but perhaps they are most impressive for constantly outperforming themselves on every tour, adding more subtle gothic beach nuances to ever-growing audiences. The first of the Maryland-based duo’s shows at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on August 3rd is no exception to the exceptional trajectory of Beach House, playing into the literal crypts of the haunted and forgotten glamour of old Tinseltown.
Supporting the release of 7, arguably one of Beach House’s strongest records to date, the band has found a point in which crafting sets can represent 10 years of recording as well as dig into an evolution of dark dream-pop. In doing so, the transition of “Master of None” into “Drunk In L.A.” not only seems logical, but incredibly effortless and smart. For that matter, the entirety of the set washed over the lawn of the cemetery, a seemless dreamscape of album cuts wherein every forthcoming song simply seemed like the next logical choice.
Never one to shy away from providing an experience that is anything less than eerily romantic, Victoria Legrand’s indispensible presence is one of few that can leave a Los Angeles crowed wooed and dazed all the same. Legrand may have been incorrectly categorized as having a “boozy” persona in the past, but such a description is lazy and somewhat misogynistic. Legrand’s musical presence is spectral and calculated, a sincere and faultless companion to Alex Scally’s incorporeal guitar work. Gliding through the set, the two are fully present, each moment presented an instance to fall into a temporary state of mesmerizing awe. At no point is it difficult to fall in love with Beach House – or at the very least, temporarily nod off into an amorous stupor.
There’s little that tracks such as the beloved “Space Song” or the new favorite “Lemon Glow” fall short of when performed live, mostly due to the fact that they’re presented as such earnest journeys. Beach House doesn’t project any immodesty while playing, nor is there any sense that the two have an agenda of fulfilling a indie-synth mantle. They are one of the few genuine acts that tour because they honestly enjoy the nature of an otherworldly show. They are also one of the few bands that can lean into a self-fulfilling prophecy of working up to playing venues that fully support the atmosphere of their work while subverting any gimmicky touring features.
A consummate treat for the devotees of the band or the uninitiated, the living among the ghouls of Hollywood saw one of Beach House’s most personal and powerful performances over the weekend. Here’s to many more instances in which to fall under the band’s spell.