Beach House at Showbox
Beach House feels like a guilty pleasure. With album names like Teen Dream and Devotion, Sub Pop’s Baltimore-based dream pop duo is spun of the stuff of prepubescent fantasy. Their barely-coherent lyrics conjure the gauzy, ineffable stock of infatuations, doldrums and daydreams. What could “Zebra” mean, other than invoking a vaguely neurotic hallucination of arched backs, tangled legs and zebras weirdly mounting stags in some hazy, sun-bleached fragment of a dream? Sometimes that’s exactly where you want your head. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally deliver these sexy phantasms in bulk, and last night they performed at a Showbox packed with fans of all ages and stripes.
Legrand was a bona-fide siren. Literally: I’d pull my ship over for her any day ran through my head a few times during the course of the night, like when she struck high notes in “Silver Soul” that sent palpable electricity down the collective spines in the room. She and Scally didn’t hesitate a moment to please by cranking out nothing but fan favorites from Teen Dream and this year's Bloom album, bent over their instruments while giant industrial fans pumped shafts of light and fog through a wall of slatted pallets behind them on stage.
It didn’t hurt that the band was nice to look at and performed with a reserved poise burst at the seams. Legrand’s occasional writhing was nothing but pleasant, her wild mane tossing through the thick, LED-star-studded air. Scally cradled his guitar for the duration of the performance, building melodies sometimes approaching wall-of-sound territory—but always keeping songs on a leash. Daniel Franz joined the band on drums and percussion, and he nailed the detail of every song with the drony warmth of mallets banging out a flawless, hypnotic tattoo. At times it seemed they must have programmed parts of the performance, it sounded so true to their recordings. But nope, they were just damn good.