We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: the ethereal concerts that are held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery never cease to disappoint. This time around the guests of honor at the evening soirée amongst the tombstones was dream-pop duo Beach House—and a more perfect marriage of sound and atmosphere could never have been concocted. Victoria LeGrand, the otherworldly wraith with the voice of an angel that fronts the band’s vocal duties, never fails to enrapture audiences with her piercing yet deeply alluring howls.
One of the pitfalls of bands so devoted to a specific world of sonic and melodic textures is ending up with a discography that sounds like a dull blur of recycled parts. While Beach House has always had a knack for preserving a meticulous consistency in their soundscapes, there is a dynamic array of ever-shifting sentiments that move just below the surface of their thick atmospherics. LeGrand cuts through all the synth overtures and lush crescendos–not to mention through flesh, sinew, bone, and even stone–to transmit something very organic, very human, amongst all the white noise around her. Live, LeGrand and her other half Alex Scally on guitar, manage to transform their dreamy meanderings into something blissfully kinetic. Not a muscle moves onstage other than LeGrand’s lips and the duo’s fingertips on the keyboard and guitar strings respectively, yet the surge is felt with every wave of buzzing growth and delirious riff. It’s something to get lost in and the crowd that filled the lawn in front of the band found itself quickly enchanted under LeGrand and Scally’s shadowy gazes.
Really the only complaint you could’ve had was with the band now on LP number seven, their setlist is composed less and less of those delightful deep cuts they tend to surprise fans with. But even then their playthrough on Friday night was filled with a cherry-picking of hits and fan favorites that couldn’t have been more delightful. From the sublime riff on “Wild” cutting through the crowd like lightning to the bewitching murmurs of “L’Inconnue,” every song seemed to darken the world around you until you were left with a vignette the included just your own aching soul and the band. At this point, Beach House has perfected the translation of their music into something so impossibly tangible and the experience itself is so sensory-engulfing that everyone from casual fans to longtime lovers always walk-away with some part of them quietly affected.
Words & Photography: Steven Ward