Show Review: Beach House at the G-Spot

Maybe I’m somewhat old-fashioned in my approach to the internet, or that I really like the payoff of delayed satisfaction, but this is true: I don’t listen to music before it is released on a record. I am perpetually behind-the-times. Maybe, I am not someone who should be writing for a music blog because I really like the thrill of going to the CD store and picking up new releases on a Tuesday. I like evaluating an album as a whole, and my somewhat neurotic personality prevents me from doing that if I imprint a couple songs on my memory before listening to all of them, in the sequence that the artist intended.

But, try as I might to delay eventual payoff, I had heard a bit of Beach House’s latest offering before its release date. I blame a little trip to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago last July, where they played a bunch of their self-titled Beach House, and a bit of their follow-up Devotion, which was released on Carpark on Tuesday the 26th, but recorded in August of 2007.

Last night I went to Beach House’s record release party for Devotion at the G-spot off Falls Road (and just a short shuffle down a very steep hill from my house in Hampden). G-spot (2980 Falls Road) is one of the many new, DIY performance spaces to “open” in the Baltimore area over the last year or so. G-spot, like its brethren Floristree, Metro, and CCAS, has a somewhat-legal status. This means a few things to the average concert attendee: it’s BYOB, the bathrooms are tiny, and the sound guy isn’t a professional. That being said, the Beach House show last night was phenomenal. The place was packed with people who wanted to be there… on a Thursday, at a difficult to find place.

Geoff and Cricket of Baltimore-based Diapensia opened. These two New Hampshire explants seem to incongruously play very pretty Americana folk music. While both members of the band are very gifted musicians, the music didn’t fill the space in the old-industrial-space turned music venue. I blame this solely on the layout of the G-spot, which seems primarily affiliated with the visual arts, rather than the aural. Nonetheless, they were quite talented, and deserve the attention they deserve in a dedicated music forum.

The second act was Papercuts, from San Fransico, California who will continue on a national tour with Beach House. While 90% of Papercuts’ act was enjoyable solid Alt-Country (with a bit more reverb than standard on a Whiskeytown record), the last bit was a little too much meandering noodling. These guys are definitely an act worth following in the future. If they can drop the bolo-ties and hone their craft, I’m reasonably sure that they’re on their way.

Finally, Baltimore heroes Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally came on for an hour long set (no encores). They both appeared on stage in solid white (if only my inadequate camera could have captured this), as if they were christening their new album, Devotion. The audience responded with equal measures of applause and heckling, which Legrand handled with self-assurance. Her balance of grace and crassness makes her my number one girl-crush-of-the-month.” At one point, she suggested the audience form a “circle jerk”, and she wished everyone in attendance a “good weekend”. I love her. I also love her music.

Beach House put on a fantastic set comprised of all of the expected tracks off of Devotion as well as “Apple Orchard” and “Master of None” off of their self-titled album of 2006. They also preformed a fantastic (IMO) cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Some Things Last”. (Admittedly, I was not in attendance at his show on Sunday at the Ottobar). Weirdly, or somewhat apropos (depending on your point of view), this cover also appears on their most recent album.

In somewhat premature summation, if you missed the first show on their month+ long tour last night, you should definitely check our their dénouement at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on April 4th, 2008. Check back with us on the regular as we plan to interview Victoria and Alex in the very near future.

(Have a good weekend, all of you).

Editor’s Note: Our second review of the show is up on DC blog BrightestYoungThings.

Photo from Flickr user iconqueredthecube

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