Live: Beach House/Papercuts
(l to r) Victoria Legrand & Alex Scally. Photo by Liz Flynt.
WALTER'S ON WASHINGTON -- 3/6/2008: Walter's on Washington is an interesting place -- it seems to be the only venue in Houston where the smaller the audience, the better the show. And it's not hard to figure out why. Artists at Walter's seem to feed off the intimacy that only a small audience can bring. Try going to the Meridian, for example, and see a band actually engage the people in the crowd with conversation outside the normal, "Thanks for coming out, guys; I've never been to Houston, but we're definitely coming back," banter that musicians love so much. That's what makes Walter's the type of venue where bands know that, regardless of how small the crowd is, those in attendance will be rabid.
It was no different Thursday night as Beach House took to the stage in front of 75 or so people -- 15-ish of whom were, um, fucking crazy. Victoria Legrand made like Nico with her dreamy, female Grizzly Bear-sounding vocals, while her counterpart Alex Scally kept pace on guitar and keyboard. In what seemed like a strange addition to the overall ethos of the group, John Quever (the man behind opening act Papercuts) sat in behind the drum kit -- I say "sat in" because I don't really think he was playing drums, right? Was he? He had a cymbal, that's all I know.
Beach House weaved their way through 13 beautifully-crafted songs from their two records, Beach House (released in 2006) and Devotion (2008), seamlessly integrating the whispered instrumentation of guitars, keyboards, and organs (and a wicked cool drum machine) with Legrand's effectually muted, flawless voice. Two standout songs were "Heart of Chambers" and "Wedding Night" (both on Devotion), but the show turned the corner on its way to perfect when Legrand and Scally covered Daniel Johnston in a way I've never heard anyone cover Daniel Johnston, taking the song "Some Things Last a Long Time" and making it sound new (I want to say here that Beach House's version is better than Johnston's, but I won't for fear of my life).
It was a show that could have only taken place at Walter's -- its intimacy and weird acoustics are ideal for a band like Beach House. Paying $8 for a show this great seems like a steal. Here's hoping that those of us in attendance made enough noise and showed enough love to force Beach House to say they're coming back. And to mean it. END