Sunday, June 20, 2010

Show Review - Beach House - Diesel - 6/16/10 - Pittsburgh - Concert Review - Live Review

It’s always a good idea to get to Diesel early if you can. And by early I mean when doors open. All the shows are prompt and finding a spot in a ‘club’ environment is definitely challenging. I was able to get a clear spot of the stage upstairs with no real issue unlike others. Beach House is not a band you listen to while working out or trying to get ‘pumped up’. Most likely you will find yourself laying in the summer sun and drinking a cold beer. Hence, I was wondering how this band would translate live.

The stage setup had the aura of a dream sequence with large sparkling, diamond shaped objects that spun around the heads of the band. The stage itself was dimmed with only red and blue colored floor lights illuminating the platform. Beach House is now a 3 piece (they used to utilize a drum machine) with main members Alex Scally on guitar and Victoria Legrand on vocals and keyboard. They utilize a drummer to bring in the soft, lush beats.

Both members have unique ways when performing. Scally stayed seated on a stool for most of the set playing guitar and occasionally lending vocals. Legrand on the other hand was a sweaty mess with a lot of animation and delivery to her music. While pounding on her keyboard she continuously pranced and flipped her hair that always covered her face. However, her vocals were often haunting and ghostly. With the minimal lighting and moving diamonds the proper atmosphere was set to how you would envision a Beach House album.

The music resonated as desired in a live setting, methodical and understated. The live drummer definitely added to the sound playing the light beats from their three LP’s with attention to the minute details. The live music was lavish and layered filling up the club with no issues. Legrand’s voice was bountiful with her raspy vocals that could hit high or down to a whisper. They sounded really well by the crowd’s reaction, even those who couldn’t see the stage.

The live show was a pleasant surprise for me. Most of the shows that utilize the dream, shoegaze sound tend to be relatively boring, even monotonous. Beach House definitely gave the sold out audience their money’s worth.

One little postscript to the show. Things got a bit interesting in our 'room' upstairs. There were 5 of us marking our spots on the railing since 6:30. Two happened to be an older couple in their 50's. They sat most of the time on the couch with a view of the stage they designated as their own. Before Beach House's set a young woman proceeded to the railing with her boyfriend in tow. The older mother asked them to please move which the girl refused and began yelling back. A verbal confrontation began that got a bit hairy. The girl didn't relent and stayed at the railing. Personally, I would have made a point of moving the girl and the bf. My point, get there early. Don't let anyone take your spot. You can play video games for an hour, talk with others, etc. I met a really nice couple and we chatted the entire time. I realize this is not a fan friendly venue but you should know by now what it's like.


  1. Beach House are boring. The only reason they are popular is their association with Grizzly Bear,who are even more dull.
    Like any other room in this city, get there early. If someone is a total jerk and tries to worm in front of me after I have been there since doors I do not let that happen. I will make it so uncomfortable for them that they have to leave. Trust me, I have had it happen many times and they usually bail.

  2. Thanks for posting the videos. I like Beach House but not Grizzly Bear :P

    Didn't get to go to this one since (1) no car and too much bus hopping required to get there, and (2) I kept hearing awful things about Diesel and then saw how many people were planning to go.

    I did get to see them at SXSW last year at a big outdoor stage before Explosions in the Sky played (whole night was free). I managed to get second, then front row through the entire thing by getting there early. Four hours early. I nearly got pushed back by this douche next to me, but the two rather-large ladies in front who were leaving after a very oddly scheduled Erykah Badu in-between disaster show (a whole other story) literally said "Let the little one in!" (I'm short) and got me through, lol.

    I also experienced some really weird 1st/2nd row shuffling between sets at the Twilight Sad/Mono show that ended with me sandwiched directly between Mono and this drunk guy shouting "F*CKKKKK" in my ear during all the quiet parts, and probably also during the loud parts where I couldn't hear him.

  3. Wow, strong statements, Hugh! I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy both Beach House and Grizzly Bear, and I think Beach House can stand on their own.

    As for the show, the live drimmer really benefited the band. I think without that organic touch it could have been a much less satisfying concert.