Beach House played the second of two back-to-back shows last night at the Showbox (Original Recipe). A few superficial thoughts: first, good for them for selling out two nights in one of Seattle's best places to see a show, rather than moving everyone to one night in a bigger venue.
Second, although it is not at all obvious from these photos, it was clear that someone at Team Beach House put a lot of thought into the lighting design, which really helped to keep the consistently gauzy set visually invigorating. Lights spun through striped pallets backed with spinning fans, perhaps cobbled together from an industrial surplus junkyard. Behind them, a glowing scrim occasionally illuminated with stars and swirling spotlights made the whole operation feel like a makeshift deep space voyage powered mostly by Victoria Legrand's voice.
Third, as the show neared the hour mark, I thought about how nice it would be to just lie on the vibrating floor rather than swaying kelplike in the crowd. This sounds really weird, but it worked splendidly during the middle of the more contemplative/less apocalyptic section of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's two-plus hour show at Pier 36 from the New York installation of All Tomorrow's Parties when large chunks of the audience came to a wordless agreement that a communal nap time would be pretty OK. However, given the sold out crowd and lack of carpet squares at the Showbox, this wasn't really an option last night. Instead, some things that the crowd did —in addition to being enchanted—to pass the time: some combination of conducting/hand dancing/air drumming, filming songs with smartphones or cameras on poles, two guys (re-)enacting a middle school slow dance ("Take Care"), a woman complaining to her companion that the band hadn't played enough hits for her taste, and, making trips to and from the bathroom.
In fact, late in the set, during one of Legrand's efforts to "breaks the fourth wall" by talking to the crowd (topics included all-ages, whether her chatting made them uncomfortable, the pros and cons of swearing), guitarist/keyboardist Alex Scally claimed to know the exact number of audience bathroom breaks from having counted the departures and arrivals during the set. Judging from standing in the back and being jostled constantly, I'd say the number was "a lot." But it was a long set and there were plenty of bars in the venue, so who can blame a little restlessness?
In any case, I stuck around long enough to max out on dreamy meditative pop and to hear my own personal favorites, including "Zebra" (from Teen Dream) and set-closer "Myth" (from this year's Bloom), but didn't linger long enough to hear what (if anything) they had planned for an encore.
A couple more photos after the jump.
Victoria Legrand, Beach House's breaker of fourth walls