Beach House / Poor Moon - Live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Beach House / Poor Moon

Live in Boston (2012)

live show

Seattle quartet and Sub Pop labelmates Poor Moon were the sole opener for Beach House at their stop in Boston on this tour in support of the latter's excellent new release, Bloom. Apparently, the band is a side project of Fleet Foxes, a tidbit of information I wouldn't discover until I began to write this very review. That sort of makes sense: Fleet Foxes' recent record was a decent slab of (overhyped) indie-folk that would often vibe a little too sleepy for my liking, and the same could largely be said about Poor Moon. Cool, baroque pop arrangements and vocals that reminded me of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's John Cardwell--obviously, PM was dreamier and more ornate, but their dynamics weren't nearly as pronounced. There weren't many crescendos or crests to grab a hold of. The crowd didn't seem to mind too much, though, paying attention politely and reacting enthusiastically (for an opener) between songs.

With Beach House about to take the stage, a little background here: I was perched in the balcony seats at the elegant Wilbur Theater. With Beach House slowly catapulting into indie stardom (sort of), would this be the sort of atmosphere where everyone stood up, or remain seated (Especially given the fact that the venue had a standing-only floor below us all)? It was most definitely the latter. Beach House guitarist Alex Scally seemed to hint at some sort of venue policy that actually prevented everyone from standing up, but I'm not sure if that was true or not. There may have also been some sort of administered sedative, because everyone up here looked like they were in a three-hour Advanced Economics lecture. It's okay to at least mouth along, guys. Yeesh. Pretend you care.

Anyway, the band came out as a three-piece, with Scally, frontwoman and organ op Victoria Legrand and drummer/percussionist Daniel Franz, and behind them were these large industrial fans housed in wooden planks, made to look like factory-style ventilating systems. They made for some interesting visual components and reflectors for the creative lighting used, which also included a sparkling, starry backdrop for the mesmerizing "Norway."

While the band's stage presence often left something to be desired, what they lacked in commanding gestures they made up for in delivery. Pre-recorded bits and loops were kept to a minimum; the majority of the music seemed live and Legrand belted out her husky, entrancing melodies with ease. Vicky did seem occasionally more lively, like during "Silver Soul." Scally was an apt partner whose main highlight came at the end with set (and Bloom) closer "Irene," when he added the most passing glance of Kevin Shields-style noise as the band shut the whole shish kabob down.

The cool thing about seeing Beach House as opposed to the last time (I believe it was February 2011 at New York City's Webster Hall for me) was that their two latest albums were now both undeniably great, as opposed to one great/one pretty good (nothing against 2008's nonetheless solid Devotion), which meant an exponentially even better set list. And that it was, with the band playing all but one track off Bloom (hidden song "Wherever You Go" was omitted too, but that's cool) and 70 percent of Teen Dream (although, no "Lover of Mine," one of the seemingly biggest "singles" from that album? Weird). It was more or less hit after compelling hit.

Set list (9:32-10:48):

Better Times
Walk in the Park
Other People
Silver Soul
The Hours
On the Sea
New Year
Take Care
Encore (10:49-11:01):
10 Mile Stereo