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Concert recap: Beach House

Victoria Legrand of Beach House at the Civic (Photo: Steven Hatley)

Victoria Legrand of Beach House at the Civic (Photo: Steven Hatley)

Music genres have a way of blending into one another. Friday’s sold-out Beach House at the Civic Theater demonstrated just that. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said about pornography, “I’ll know it when I see it,” and in some ways genre-meshing is similar: “I’ll know it when I hear it.” Beach House’s sound has been described as dream-pop and shoegaze. For me, it’s more dream-gaze, as the pop elements aren't so obvious, while the gaze elements, albeit not prominent, are easily noticed, and the dream elements are overwhelmingly prevalent.

Beach House is a duo from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2004. The band consists of French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. The band is joined on stage by two additional musicians, a drummer and bass player. Some music outlets have compared Legrand's vocals to those of Nico, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, and Kendra Smith of Opal. She often speaks about her love for the Cure, the Cocteau Twins, and Gene Clark, Neil Young, and the films of David Lynch, all of which have shaped all five of Beach House’s albums.

Depression Cherry is the latest effort from the band, and the set list was mostly comprised of that material, as expected. The brooding, dreamy nature of the music determined the look of the stage set, too. Legrand took comfort in almost-anonymity behind her keyboard. Her hair draped her face, like a mask of sorts. Her crowd interactions felt almost forced, perhaps due to nerves, but the audience didn’t even seem to mind. The set of songs melded like a hazy dream and the backdrop of mesh cubes became focal points as projections were shown upon them. Continuing the dream factor, the projections were never really in sharp focus, rather like those last moments right before waking.

You can see an expanded gallery here: http://jalbum.net/a/1662691

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.