Jan 27, 2011

Beach House @ Beck's Festival Bar

I can't take my eyes off her. I try to look away, but I just can't do it. Instinctively I again turn my eyes to her. Her movements draw me in. Her sensual flowing self. Victoria LeGrand doesn't say much. But she doesn't need to. Her voice, the way she moves is enough. Beach House on an incredibly humid and hot Australia Day was the perfect tonic for all involved. Their lush and moving arrangements floated over us, leaving us delighted and enthralled.

Without question "Teen Dream" was one of the stellar albums of 2010. A remarkable and intoxicating piece of art. Previously I had only been lukewarm to the charms of Alex and Victoria, but their latest album has made me a total convert. The night did begin however with an older tune, but a particular favourite, in "Gila" which set the tone nicely. Soon though we were flowing with "Teen Dream" goodness. "Walk in the Park" was especially mesmerising and "Norway" was all ecstatic melody. The show actually seemed to get better as it went along. "Used to Be" was received with open arms and hearts. Its ethereal melody making us hold our breath. I would say however that "Zebra" stole the show. It was at this point that Ms Legrand became a sight to behold. Early in the show she was a serene object. Standing straight, hovering over her keyboards, her hair covering her eyes. During "Zebra" and subsequent songs she became more animated. Hair was flying everywhere, hands were moving in time with the music. She was at one with the charging rhythms, a hypnotic capsule of sound. Oh yes and "Zebra" was greatness. It charged headlong, fairly galloping like the name of the song implies. Of course I loved the closer "Take Care". This song is already a classic in my mind. It is a sumptuous feast for the heart and mind. The trio of musicians had proved a tight unit on the night. Alex Scally carefully plied his trade on the guitar, whilst touring drummer Daniel Franz ably added all the right percussive elements to each and every song. But it is Victoria who is the centrepiece. Her deep voice resonates like few other singers. She is in complete control, allowing the music to flow through her and out into the captive audience. She has a wild look in her eye, giving me the feeling that things sit tightly on the edge, but will never fall into the abyss. A quiet but adoring crowd burst with applause after "Take Care" and we asked for more. We received the elegaic "Real Love" and the pulsating "10 Mile Stereo" for good measure. A pleasurable finale to be sure. A touch of magic came to Sydney last night and we all felt touched by it.

Set List
Gila
Better Times
Walk in the Park
Norway
Lover of Mine
Silver Soul
Master of None
Used to Be
Astronaut
Zebra
Heart Of Chambers
Take Care

Real Love
10 Mile Stereo

To make the night even more special, support was provided by Sydney's Parades. I make this point most seriously. Not only are they this city's most promising young band, they are more then likely the best. Their sound is complex and multi layered. On a day when the Triple J Hottest 100 was a complete letdown, it was a good reminder that quality of this kind is within the reach of all of us. See this band!

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