4/22 Beach House @ Emos

Emos hosted one of the most anticipated shows of the Spring music season, as the sold-out Austin crowd welcome Beach House back to town.  Opening the evening would be Washed Out.  Follow the jump for more.

This might come off as a bit of a diatribe against knob-twiddlers, and I admit it sort of is, but Washed Out shouldn’t be touring.  This is not an attack against his music, as it’s mildly entertaining in the bedroom setting, but in the live setting, there is absolutely no reason for a performance.  Sure, lots of bands use knobs like Animal Collective, but here we have Ernest Greene, dancing behind his board while his beats play out over the speakers.  His dancing wasn’t spectacular, and the effects he used on his voice made some question whether or not the guy can sing or not.  I couldn’t help but think of the hallowed stage where I once saw At the Drive-In destroy everything in sight had been taken over by a dude and his knobs.  He might have good tunes, but I can live without ever seeing him play again live.  It seemed sacrilegous to me.

Around 11 PM Beach House took to the stage decorated in sparkling rhombi.  They opened their set with the remarkable “Walk in the Park” off their newest album Teen Dream. Every note that Victoria Legrand hit with her distinctive voice seemed perfect.  From the very get go, you could tell that the band were destined to make the sound system at Emos go all out, and I honestly haven’t heard the system sound as incredible as it did last night.

The majority of their set displayed all the tunes off of Teen Dream in the live setting, playing songs such as “Silver Soul” and “Norway,” all reaching a climax when the band played “Zebra” just before midnight. This album already lived in my personal Top Ten of the year so far, atop all those much anticipated albums heading your way in May, but the live setting set it near the top, where it will definitely stay.

Surprisingly, Victoria and Alex moved a fair amount, which is surprising considering the soothing tones that waft from their instruments.  Alex seemed to have a particular bounce to his step the whole evening, bringing even more life to their sprawling sound.  Victoria, for her part, let her hair loose, shaking it in rhythm with Alex’s springy chords, while an unknown third member quietly tapped the percussive elements.

This is one of those evenings where you really wanted to hear Teen Dream in all its magestic glory, but you probably weren’t expecting an exhilerating show. In truth, the spirited performance of the group, and the ridiculously enchanting vocals of Victoria, rose well above my expectations for the group, making the Beach House show one of the best I’ve seen this year.

Photos are provided by the lovely Jennifer Murtha.  She has more of Beach House here and Washed Out here.

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