For many of us who spent the better part of the weekend rocking out to the handful of mostly uptempo Coachella acts playing on Vegas stages, we needed a breather. Beach House gave us another reason to have to go out — on a Monday night, no less — and made it worthwhile. And the Baltimore trio's first headlining local show appeared to draw more than host venue House of Blues' weekend concerts with Spiritualized and Foals — the first night the place had the concert calendar to itself.
The 15-song, 75-minute concert exclusively featured ethereal ballads and midtempo dream folk, which might've bored someone with any leftover weekend in them. But captivating everyone else was singer Victoria Legrand, who projected her celestial, breathy voice over her own shimmering synths and band co-founder Alex Scally's chiming guitar work, both instruments creating an soothing wall of ambience. It was hard to dicipher her lyrics, but the evocation in her voice — hymnal and romantic (and occasionally both) — was anything but muddled. She seemed further enraptured when she whipped her long, flowing hair around and danced in place behind her keyboards, not content to remain stationary. Her music had the same effect on the crowd. "There are a lot of dancers," she said after finishing 2010's "Used to Be," which features a steady 4/4 beat. "Are you humans, or are you dancers?" she then quipped, referencing The Killers' song, "Human."
The setlist highlights mostly came from last year's Bloom, which showcased an even more developed songcraft than the band's 2010 breakthrough, Teen Dream. "Other People" featured verses that were as seductive as the choruses. "Lazuli" followed, simply alternating a set of two-note phrases before a gorgeous, wordless breakdown and Legrand finally coming in with a lovely mantra: "Like no other, you can't be replaced." And the set-concluding "Myth" juxtaposed some of Legrand's lowest and highest notes, ending with her voice bursting through the rafters and augmenting the song's wistful melody.
Still, the best was saved for the encore with "10 Mile Stereo," the best indie torch song Antony and the Johnsons never wrote. In the hands of Legrand, Scally and drummer Daniel Franz, the song took its time lifting off, but ended in an intense flurry of synth waves, crashing cymbal and sustained howls, complemented by the flashing lights above them. It was as dramatic visually as it was aurally, and provided a much needed climax to a relatively mellow setlist — which most of us nonetheless needed.