CHEVRON GARDENS REVIEW: Beach House's vivid dream pop comes to life
While Beach House was one of the musical comforts I’d turn to in the darkest of times, their 90-minute performance at Chevron Gardens made way for newer memories and positive, light-filled associations.
For a good amount of Perth fans, the mere thought of the Baltimore dream pop connoisseurs visiting us down under was barely conceivable. Yet thanks to the contemporary music line-up of Perth Festival, Beach House were well and truly in town to light up the stage, and simply, make us feel.
Settling beneath the Elizabeth Quay skyline, the relaxed atmosphere immediately made itself apparent. In light of the dream pop theme, Beach House couldn’t have selected a more fitting support act if they tried. Coming off the back of their nationwide tour, local favourites Mosquito Coast opened with new songs from their upcoming album.
With 3/4 of the band dressed in white, the ethereal four-piece embodied a more defiant sound with their latest single ‘Sweet Talking’. No Mosquito Coast set would be complete, of course, without ‘Call My Name’ — the very track that deservingly landed the 2015 triple j unearthed winners in the spotlight.
And there Beach House were, two grand silhouettes playing to my melancholic 15-year-old self and countless others. Out of their utterly extensive discography, the duo opened with ’Levitation’, which had all of us floating in no time. ‘Lazuli’ emerged next with its bubbling intro and Victoria Legrand’s beautiful, transcendental vocals — which were even more incredible live.
Creating walls of sound, the duo walked us through the glory of their shoegaze songbook and moved onto ‘PPP’. As the song’s second verse croons, ‘The timing was perfect’ — and so was the unhurried beginning of their set. This was enduring throughout, up until the crashing and thunderous drums midway through ‘10 Mile Stereo’. To quote Legrand, they were “rocking so hard on stage [that their] clothes [were] falling off.” It was hilariously dry commentary like this and the starry light show that added even more to the experience.
‘Sparks’ imparted a different kind of flair from the band, with layered guitar lines featuring heavily. In tracks such as this, guitarist and backup vocalist Alex Scally exhibited his expert fingerwork, alongside close-up shots of Legrand’s keyboard. It was a simple set-up that needed no more to sway us.
Yet, what came after this was not song upon song of momentary bliss, but a celebration. ‘Myth’ recaptured hearts once again, as many golden songs (especially off their treasured album Bloom) have done for so long. Finishing off the 15-song set were standout tracks from their successive albums, such as ‘Space Song’ from Depression Cherry and ‘Lemon Glow’ from 7. As our editor Sarah recounts, the latter was so visceral it sent her into tears.
After thanking their lucky stars (the organisers, the crowd, and their support act), Beach House jumped straight into their encore — going out with a bang with ‘Dive’ off their latest album. For many, this would be a mesmeric evening to remember, and one to hold close.