Thanks again to the folks at Club Mercy for filling Muddy Waters with the subdued and melodious surf sounds of Beach House this past Monday night. Before a mostly seated audience, the three-piece played a determined set (which segued in perfect order), covering a great selection of their two albums (Beach House and Devotion), as well as something from their upcoming record, which will be released later this month.
Simplicity was key on Monday, as the Baltimore-based virtuosos played with little more than a keyboard, drum set, and guitar. Victoria Legrand (keys, vocals) looked a little sleepy (probably a result of an aggressive tour schedule), but didn’t let that get in the way of the natural power of her voice – an instrument in it’s own right. During the bands best-received song of the evening, “Master of None,” Legrand’s voice (similar to that of 90s songstress Mazzy Star) reverberated far greater than anything they’ve previously recorded, causing a ripple of applause and a feeling of awe amongst the enraptured crowd. And the passion with which she and guitarist Alex Scally played the number was so evocative that many in the audience could been spotted sitting eyes closed, allowing the sound to truly soak in.
The amount the band was able to cover – even while telling jokes and engaging with the crowd – was quite impressive. After asking the folks up front to sit on the cafe floor, so as to better allow everyone to see, the duo poured straight into the blues/folk/surf sounds of old 1920s Hawaii by way of “You Came to Me” and “Gila.” After that, Scally, feeling quite warm in the small and packed cafe, introduced a song he thought would cool things down, leading Legrand and their percussionist in “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.” This particular melody, a very 1950s do-wap inspired ditty, came off as truly unique, with a low and heavy echo/reverb and percussion similar to something one would expect from The Tindersticks.
Also that night, the band played a song they referred to as their dance song, “Tokyo Which,” and “Used to Be,” a twinkling tune from their upcoming record with a well distorted synthetic beat that was a noticeably lighter departure for the group.
As a side note, the art adorning the walls of this quirky cafe, all from the UCSB grads behind Posters For Humans. The works are all quite compelling and definitely worth a look-see.