Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan
The band Beach House
tends to evoke visions of sandy California paradise, of searing sun and rocky waves, maybe even a side of sunglasses and that inescapable scent of sunscreen.
But when the dreamy duo played at Summer Stage in Central Park this past Monday, fans left the towels and Pina Coladas at home for the chance to enjoy the band as they played alongside a totally-free-to-the-public thunder and lighting show.
Luckily, our tickets said rain or shine, and hell, we weren't surrendering without a fight. And so, few songs into the show, all your Twitter-happy kids put away the cameras and iPhones (is now really the time for Instagramming??), as a canopy of umbrellas descended upon the astro-truf indie music mecca of Summer Stage.
What may have begun with mere stubbornness ended in awe; you might think of Beach House as your soundtrack for a sandy BBQ, but the music takes on a more hauntingly beautiful quality when enjoyed beneath an impromptu rainstorm.
Lead vocalist Victoria Legrand took this moment to declare, "Pardon my French, but f*ck weather." A sea of soggy warriors saluted.
Legrand's voice is probably what best distinguishes Beach House from the rest of the pack of talented, chill out indie rockers. It rolls up and down, as effortlessly as --dare we say-- an ocean wave. She sings with a husky, borderline androgynous quality that you don't often hear. It's the effortlessness which makes their music seem more heartfelt than that of her many higher-pitched, falsetto-lovin' peers. Girl leaves pretensions for the posers, throws her head back and just lets it happen.
At one point, Legrand joked to the thousands of audience members that this was "the most intimate show" they'd ever played. A very damp back-row scowled, but honestly, the quip wasn't entirely off-base. The truth is, Legrand's voice was so powerful that it made Central Park feel as intimate as the tiny open mic bars where the band likely spent its fledgling days.
A (somehow waterproof?) light show added the requisite drama. Old favorite "Norway" was played against a background of falling silver LED stars, while a flashing rainbow of spotlights accompanied the band's more rousing tracks. Round it all out with some lackadaisical search lights, and you've captured the Yin/Yang of searing melodies and mellowed out cool that's made Beach House a staple of hip taste makers.
As the concert began to wind down, perfectly timed lighting clapped at the end of each song, almost a weirdly sublime standing ovation of the heavens. The electric outbursts were fitting for the stirring show Beach House delivered.
F*ck weather, indeed.
Distance or the hourly weather report keep you away? (wimp!) The experience can be recreated by watching this while taking an ice-cold shower.