Concert Review: Beach House in Denver

The phrase “the fog is coming” has been everywhere over the last few weeks. Comment sections are riddled with this warning, I’ve even seen a post-it note with the warning in our supposedly-safe school library. But I saw the fog. It came at 9:03 PM MST on March 30, 2022 at 39.776374, -104.969329, aka the Mission Ballroom in Denver. This glorious haze swept over the audience resulting in dead silence. Darkness and silence. I’ve seen what the fog consists of, the lights shone revealing the silhouettes of the legendary Dream Pop duo Beach House.   

The title track and intro of Once Twice Melody launched the concert with plainsong-like chimes; its hypnotizing instruments progress with Victoria Legrand’s voice. Legrand’s delivery has a similar effect to German artist Nico. Her vocals feel ancient, like she is telling some great prophecy carried by an atmosphere of lush synths and strings. Manipulation of the band’s shadows multiplied the allure, I did not see a single facial feature the whole night. Seeing Legrand raise her shadow of a hand at the peak of a song would cause the crowd to levitate in awe.

Soon the synths of “Lazuli” and “Through Me” would climb up and down on a dream-dimension y-axis. Legrand stands tall and mythical with her curly hair draped in the fog. Alex Scalley played his soothing guitar and James Barone hit his drums with gentle precision. Hexagonal lights twist and turn around through the mist, and I heard someone say “look at the lights on the ceiling.” For a moment, these geometric lights had us inside of the Bloom album cover.

Beach House’s sound is so sensory-oriented that the visuals of this show were crucial. Before the show, The band sent out a memo to every one of their ticket holders: 

NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY whatsoever will be allowed. Additionally, any other distracting activities will not be tolerated.

This created a tunnel vision effect; I could only see the band and whatever synesthetic spotlight they occupied. Everything else was pitch black, it was impossible not to be hypnotized by that stage. The audience may as well have melted when the gut-wrenching first notes of “Silver Soul” came on. All of the lights turned white; it makes sense because this is a white-feeling song, right? Most Beach House songs have a specific color; they’ve explored this with the indulgent red sink-hole that is their 2015 album, Depression Cherry. The background lights matched each song and its sonic hue. A Starry Night-esque lilac background twinkled for the spellbinding “Myth.” A machine gun of red lights fired around with the drum machines of “Pink Funeral.” At the chorus, the aforementioned hexagonal lights turn pink and pan across the room in slow-motion as Legrand so gracefully pleads, “don’t let me go.” 

“I’m a woman of few words” Legrand says to a crowd of hypnotized happy neanderthals. I can look around and see the simple thought behind many faces: Music  make me  feel  good. Sure, we were all swaying parallel to the repetitive soundwaves of “Lemon Glow,” but to look around was to see a collective submerged state. Legrand looks down at her audience – or loyal followers – “This place feels like a spaceship, where should we go.” We follow and cheer, drooling. Beach House brain rot has never felt so good.

Our spaceship traveled through the Asgardian bliss of “PPP,” and soon, zero-gravity tears would float around during “Space Song”. As we continued somewhere between two galaxies, a Death Star shot out its dreamy rays from above. A disco ball the diameter of Chewbacca’s left nut is the first off-stage light I’ve seen in this theater. Once the show exited orbit, the crowd did not stop cheering until the band came back on for an encore with “Over and Over.” The audience exited the building like a stream of satisfied water molecules as Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” played over the speakers.

Guided meditation wouldn’t make me feel as serene as I did after the Beach House show. Is it dramatic to say I feel baptized? As a Jew, I don’t know what baptism feels like; I took to the Catholicism subreddit to understand the experience. To quote [deleted] account, “I felt peaceful and confident. I felt content and joyful.” Exactly. Immersion into the band’s cathartic fog has left me feeling like a toad in a zen garden. I tried to go through this whole article without typing the Beach House review buzzwords: dreamy, heavenly, ethereal this word I promised myself I’d avoid. But shit, the shoe fits.