Beach House @ Mercy Lounge, Nashville, 4/28/10

Videos by American Songwriter

Victoria Legrand at The Mercy Lounge (L) [credit: Steve Cross] and the show poster (R)

In 2007, a crowd of two dozen attended Nashville’s last Beach House show where the up and coming buzz band opened the Basement for the Clientele. At the time, the group’s belt barely bolstered a self-titled debut. So it’s praiseworthy that the Baltimore band’s latest jaunt to Music City attracted maximum capacity to the Mercy Lounge. Beach House deserves this credit which is based on the strengths of two subsequent, stronger releases, Devotion and Teen Dream. On the other hand, good for Nashville youth filling the venue, however, at times, watching the audience seemed like witnessing an audition for lead roles in the movie version of Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day. Then again, a 6’4” 230 lb audience member attempting to maneuver his self closer to the stage past scrawny, bed-headed shoe gazers inevitably provokes dejected demeanors. C’est la vie…

Speaking of size, the main attraction, French-born female lead singer Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally (joined by a touring drummer), loomed large in front of a fitting set design: four three-foot, tinfoil-tiered octahedrons that reflected magenta and turquoise light, not unlike the set of an Ed Wood alien arena, especially since they wobbled on pole bases at a measly 5 RPM. Beach House remained mostly backlit and Legrand’s viscous, slow-creeping melodies were pretty well personified by these eerie geometries that served as the stage’s primary light source. The band opened with “Walk In The Park,” one of the finer moments on Teen Dream and evidence of Scally’s penchant for sped-down New Order riffs, and reinforced by Legrand’s simple synth poundings. After a few more songs, including “Better Times” and “Norway,” it was becoming increasingly evident that Legrand was winning the dance-off between herself and the audience. Her curly, frizzed hair and head-banging Cousin It impersonation easily outmatched the typical indie-rock crowd posture that is less like Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah and more like Cross My Arms and Say No Thank You.

Beach House’s unique combination of lush, funereal organ and morose, sultry guitar licks converts well to the stage, and detectable was a sense of professional momentum. Where will Nashville’s next Beach House unfold? The Ryman could do a lot worse…


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  1. Man so now I know who the hipster Dikembe Mutombo was at the show that night. Thanks for interrupting the mediocre time I was trying to have, Willy!

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