Having previously missed two shows from Beach House (and probably more that I wasn’t even aware of) I made it a point to catch them the third time around. After all don’t they say once, twice, third time’s a charm?
I firmly believe that my concert going band type for 2012 will be best described as the year of seeing “Critically Acclaimed” bands. What this generally means is that the band will have their own style, but they are not going to be every ones cup of tea. Both their 2006 and 2010 albums received a lot of critical acclaim and no doubt their fare share of cynical acclaim too. And don’t get me wrong, some critically acclaimed artist probably deserved it more than others, I mean there is critically acclaimed, having never won an award and then there is multi Grammy award winning.
A crowd indie rock wannabes filed through the Paradiso main doors and into the beautiful main room to the pulsating throng of a DJ trancing it up big time. By no stretch of the imagination was this what I was expecting, or had seen previously this year from a support, but somehow it just seemed to suit. It fit both the crowds’ mood and I guess the type of pre show set you might see before a band like Beach House. The crowd’s collective age was slightly older than I had anticipated and that probably comes about because these guys have been kicking around for about 7 or 8 years.
One of the things that had played on my mind through out the day leading up to the show was probably relevant for any band and one that I had thought long and hard before we interviewed Yeasayer earlier in the year. And that would be that I have a preconceived idea about Baltimore (Where Beach House are originally from). I mean from what I have been exposed to, Baltimore is very gritty, rife with gangs, drugs and crime on every corner. Well at least that’s what I leant from watching ‘The Wire’.
So how on earth could a two piece rise out of “these” ashes and get out and reach the masses, well at least the indie-rock masses? And the answer which I am not sure about but I expect based on my discussions with Ira would be that this two piece probably grew up in a very middle class Baltimore family and there fore the “struggles” to get exposed to creating music might not have been as hard as some. That is not to say there weren’t any but maybe there were less.
I am not sure what I expected or even wanted to see. But I had been told that the lighting display would be pretty good and I am not surprised, I mean this was a conventional two piece, unless they would stack the stage with touring mates that is, what else would there be to look at?
I remember being in my favorite bar in Amsterdam and listening to some Beach House and thinking how good it was, and it was that moment that I thought I should check them out. I was almost trying to talk myself out of going during the day but there was this nagging part of me inside that made me have to go, no matter how tired at the end of the day I would be, I would just have to go, I mean it could be the gig of 2012? I am not sure what I expected or even wanted to see but I had been told that the lighting display would be really good. This made me worry even more, I mean if your only comment is on the lighting, it is like saying that that you thought a movie is good because you really liked the cinematography…
Well, where do I start? All my worst fears came true. Well maybe not all of them, as they were at least playing as a three piece not just the two I had thought the case might be.
Even though I am not really a fan, an hour had past before I felt a real connection with ANY of the songs. I made it through an hour and twenty five minutes before I decided, with encore was in full flight, that I would take this opportunity to duck out the door and down the street. I had assumed I would be the only one, but actually that was not be the case, the foyer was already full of people. I can’t comment as to whether this is a typical Dutch thing to do at a gig as I don’t tent to leave early very often.
Ok so yes it is ambient pop, with the odd Indie rock song thrown in, but really it is a lot of shoe gazing pop for mine. The moment of clarity came for me when I realized that the gig was reminiscent of the Lykke Li show I had seen (and subsequently left before the conclusion) a year (or so) ago at the same venue. And that was it, they probably both write very good songs, are musically very sound but at the end of the day do I find them very interesting to see live? No I do not.
Morgan, BTW the lighting was really good, you were on the money with that.