Live: Beach House/Dustin Wong

HOUSE OF BLUES — 9/19/12: Sometimes it just feels like no one is on your side. Well, okay, I did get a photo pass and free ticket to the show, so that’s something. But here’s the thing: as long as I’ve been going to House Of Blues, they’ve had a photo pit. So imagine my chagrin when there wasn’t one for Beach House, one of this year’s hottest American bands.

If I’d have known that, I’d have gotten to the gig earlier, but I figured if I scooted up a little at a time, I could get closer by the time Beach House started. Wrong. This band has some of the most aggressive “want to be in the front” fans I’ve ever seen.

We all stood together and watched (and tried not to listen to) the 45 minutes of incessant looping and guitar noodling of Dustin Wong. His music reminded me of people who show me a bunch of family photos where I don’t know anyone. I don’t care, and there’s nothing to draw me into it. It was torture. I thought that would drive some people away and let me sneak into a better vantage point, but to no avail. People stayed put, some of them trying to talk over the cacophony.

As a side note, I wish Bang Bangz would have been the opener. They deserved the slot and the chance to widen their fanbase. When I listen to Beach House, I think of Bang Bangz, as they’re similar enough that they would go together well on a show. I wonder if the Bang Bangz guys and gal were there thinking, “Wow, we would have done a better job opening than this wanker!”

As the time came closer, I realized that Beach House singer and keyboard player Victoria LeGrand actually plays in the position where the drummers in most bands usually play. Therefore, drummer Daniel Franz was more in front of the band than the singer, which made little sense, because he wasn’t exactly Thomas Pridgen (formerly Mars Volta drummer who is the best in the business).

And the whole band had the monitors set up at least five feet back from the front of the stage. So why no photo barrier, if the band “wants to be near their fans”? And then to top it off, the person in front of me had a small camera connected to a monopod (a thin pole) which he would raise up, blocking the view of everyone around him! I bet that guy didn’t get a photo pass.

So, needless to say, I didn’t get too many photos. As for Beach House themselves, the music was OK. It’s great if you like sleepy, electronic-tinged pop, which is popular these days, no doubt. Their interest in the fans was minimal. No big deal; some of my favorite bands even had the term “shoegazer” coined for them. But I was hoping for a little more interaction.

They remind me of an updated Cocteau Twins, but I would have much rather been at a Cocteau Twins concert. I was hoping that seeing them live would make me appreciate their most recent album, Bloom, more, and to the extent that I enjoyed their sounds washing over me while I closed my eyes and went to dreamland, it did. I also appreciated guitarist Alex Scally doubling as a foot-organ player. That’s not an easy task.

But after about six songs, I’d had enough of the crowd and was still bothered by the lack of photos, which was my main reason for going… I would love to get some comments down below about why I should have liked them more. END

(Photos [top to bottom]: Dustin Wong; Beach House; Daniel Franz of Beach House. Feature photo: Alex Scally of Beach House. All photos by Jason Smith.)

Live review by . Live review posted Friday, October 12th, 2012. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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