Live Review: Beach House and Bachelorette 4/12 @ Neumo’s

Review by Royal Stuart

Sometimes you’re surprised by a band that is able to pull off sounding just like their recorded work. You think, “This album is so complex, there’s no way they’ll be able to recreate this on stage.” And then you’re pleasantly surprised when they do.

Beach House is not one of those bands. They have an excellent downtempo sound, perfect for listening to with headphones. It’s the kind of sound that doesn’t lend itself to a lively performance, so you go to the gig hoping the band will do something different. “Maybe they’ll have a crazy video show. Or pyrotechnics.” But unless they really do something exciting, you’re just opening the door to disappointment. And sadly, that’s exactly where I found myself on Monday night.

There were no pyrotechnics; there were slowly-spinning glitter-glued giant diamond shapes on mic stands. And that was, scarily enough, the best part of their stage show. Granted, there were a couple of other factors that made having an enjoyable time kinda difficult. Monday’s the worst night for a show, hands down. Add to that the technical issues that were causing delays and lots of running around by the Neumos staff and you’ve got a difficult hill-climb to enjoyment. But the band was doing themselves no favor by standing there unmoved. Lead singer Victoria Legrand did manage to get some nice upper-body movement during a couple of songs, but being stuck in place behind her keyboard limited her from moving too far. And Alex Scally, alternating between keyboards, guitar, and managing the sequencer, spent half the show sitting on a bench, barely moving. And the unnamed drummer, effectively turning the duo into a trio for this tour, seemed detached, simply going through the motions.

Standing at the foot of the stage, I had to stifle a couple of yawns for fear of looking unappreciative. I like Beach House. I want them to impress the sold out audience at Neumos. But I can only support their lackluster live show for so long.

Opening act Bachelorette started out quite interestingly. Following the footsteps of St. Vincent, New Zealander Annabel Alpers led us in a full gamut of Björk-inspired songs. Standing alone on stage and singing her own harmonies — and more — through the use of loops and sampling, the first couple of songs were quite fun to watch. But then the wall of technology she was playing behind began to fail. She could no longer hear her own guitar. After a few minutes of fiddling with wired and such, they eventually brought up the house lights and house music to tide us over while the crew worked on replacing her broken equipment. Eventually it came back on, but she never recovered. Overall, I think she’ll get better with time, as her comfort with her own technology increases and her shyness on stage melts away.

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~ by royalbacon on April 15, 2010.

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