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SFCoachella: Beach House at Bimbo's

 

Last week was San Francisco's Coachella, the pre-Coachella Bay Area takeover, better know as SFCoachella (try saying that five times fast). While many fans decided to trek south for the real Coachella, the Bay Area got its own taste of the festival's offerings. It was our duty, our mission, our responsibility, and goal, to see as many shows as possible just to make our fans happy; and yes, our motives were selfish in their own regard. Alas, we are tired, we are worn, we are seasoned, but we are satiated because the feast was large, and it was a grand.

Beach House at Bimbo's

It would have been nearly impossible not to be a little blown away by the scene that was set at Bimbos for the Sub Pop starlets Beach House. For those of you unfamiliar with the venue, it is one of the city's true gems. It is at once intimate and grand, with red velvet and gold accents throughout, and generally feels like someplace your grandparents would go for spaghetti carbonara and martinis. Filled with a sold out crowd of well dressed, drink-swilling young people, who seemed pretty familiar with the Teen Dream material, it was a party--albeit of the most lo-fi persuasion.

Victoria Legrand, the hopelessly magnetic, sultry-voiced and heavily fringed front-woman sounded haunting while she made pretty twinkles on her keyboard. Her mostly silent cohort, the striking Alex Scally, brought some of the album's subtle guitar to an ever so slightly more energetic level on each track, without ever sounding out of place or upsetting the delicate balance between live instruments and synth that makes Beach House so appealing in the first place. They even let the drummer sit up front (yes, they performed as a trio).

Highlights included set-opener "Walk in the Park,” which was so spot-on sound-wise it was barely discernible from the recorded version until you actually walked into Bimbo's main room. "Used to Be," aside from being pretty, was the energetic highlight of the evening and as close to a rock anthem as Beach House can get. While the show stayed fairly consistent in tempo, volume, and was visually fixed, much like a listen to the album, it didn't overwhelm the intricacies of the individual songs. "Lover of Mine" still sounded every bit as early 70s classic rock-tinged, and "10 Mile Stereo" had everyone captivated, swaying (almost dancing, almost).

Do I think it was a "can't miss" kind of show? Frankly, no. Teen Dream is delightful, suited to any number of appropriate listening scenarios and grows richer with each one. It is a reflection of the band’s graceful evolution and, in my opinion, a harbinger of greatness to come. Ardent fans were rewarded with a satisfying and true live performance of their work, and casual listeners were treated to a lovely evening that was sure to inspire them to revisit both Teen Dream and their (also excellent) previous work.

- Eve Marcellus



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