Yesterday, I saw Beach House at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. To say they were amazing would be an understatement. As my first live show in London, Beach House was out of this world; they was awe-inspiring.
I’ll start at the beginning. We arrived just in time to check our coats and grab a Calsberg beer. My friends V and Julia were just as psyched as I was for the show to start. We wormed our way into the middle of the crowd as the opening act walked to the middle of the stage. Marques Toliver stood bare on the stage; it was just him and his violin. Using a looper, he intertwined his violin and his voice, using the space to display his talent. I loved watching him play with such soul and dedication as his bow dived between his dreads. He wasn’t only talented, though: he had a great personality. After each song, he’d say, in a refreshing American accent, “Well, that was that one.” He also called out some people who were on their cell phones. He definitely wanted people to appreciate his music. Adele’s “new favorite artist,” Marques Toliver is going places.
Toliver didn’t seem to want to leave, but he knew that most people were there for the main act. After another 20 minutes of waiting around, V, Julia and I wiggled our way to the front. There was only one person in front of me, and I felt supremely lucky. The benefits of going to a concert with short people! We weren’t the only people feeling lucky, though. Throughout the concert, lead singer Victoria Legrand stressed how lucky they were to be there. In the hour-and-a-half set, she probably talked about three times. Once to remind us how fortunate they were, once to fail to interpret someone’s shout (“You love Denise? Oh… You love me? No way”) and once to remark how old she felt. “I’m like an old… pony,” she said. Crickets. “OK… Sorry for interrupting your night.” More shouts of love. She was so awkward and adorable and utterly awesome.
The best part of the concert, of course, was the music. It still bewilders me that three people can make that much noise. What I like about Beach House is that it doesn’t favor one instrument. Most bands are all about the vocals. But with Beach House, the synthesizer, drums, vocals, guitar and keyboard all mesh together into something indescribably beautiful. I looked around me, and people everywhere were swaying, nodding their heads in that concert fashion, or tearing up. Strobe lights flashed as Victoria, in all her red lipstick glory, threw her head around while banging on the synthesizer, her wavy hair flying everywhere. The drummer, a curly-haired chap, blinked to the beat, and it was a wonderful thing to watch. I could only see the guitarist if I stood on tip-toe, but when I did see him, he was bent over his guitar like he was simultaneously protecting a prized possession and ripping it apart.
In the background, a black screen lit up with stars. An installment of what looked like several finely tuned harps stood behind the band, and light and video filtered through the gaps between the strings. The entire background to the stage lit up in stars, which blinked during the encore. The show was Beach House’s last in London, and everyone in the audience could tell they were pulling all the stops. V, Julia and I clutched at each other as we sang at the top of our lungs the lyrics to “Myth” and “Wild.”
It was an unforgettable night. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just a casual listener, seeing Beach House live is an experience everyone should have.
Concert photos courtesy of Vijayta Narang. Photo of Marques Toliver courtesy of his Facebook.