Beach House at the Opera House in Toronto

30 March 2010

Beach House played to a sold out crowd at The Opera House in Toronto on Tuesday night and lulled us with hits from their newest album, Teen Dream. The best word to describe the capacity crowd would be sedate — they stood, unmoving, in typical unenthused Toronto fashion, as the duo with the addition of a live drummer, faithfully rendered their songs live. With eyes closed it was close to impossible to tell the difference between live show and recording, which isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes the joy of a concert is seeing the band jam out a little and reveal new twists and extended codas to favourite songs. Nevertheless, Victoria Legrand’s voice is absolutely stunning live — powerful and assured, yet restrained. I’m sure she can just belt it out if she really wanted to, and it would’ve been nice to hear a bit more of her vocal chops live.

I guess what I’m saying is I felt a bit disappointed, even though the show was totally great. They played just about every song off the new album, plus my personal fave, “Gila” off Devotion, but it simply wasn’t mind blowing. Perhaps, I was expecting too much from a band that writes quiet and sparse pop songs, but still . . . I dunno, maybe the blasé crowd also had something to do with it, or the fact that the sound guy needed to turn up the guitar a bit, or maybe I’m just a curmudgeonly sonofabitch myself, but overall I was underwhelmed.

Our generation’s two greatest forms of entertainment, films and concerts, are supposed to be engaging, unforgettable, thought-provoking, and reassuringly visceral collective experiences that change us, even if only a smidgen. And the best ones do in fact do this. Before the show I completely expected Beach House to be one of these “best ones” — where the crowd leaves the show slightly high, smiling, elevated beyond the normality of life and work and all the stupid stresses that come about in our personal day to day — but unfortunately all I wanted to do after the show was head to the bar for another drink.

Yet, as my friend Trish said as I complained to her about the lackluster crowd, good vibes are infectious, and I guess mine just weren’t reverberating loudly enough last night. Wow. Maybe that one too many drink I had after the show is also inflecting my opinion here. Who knows? I still love the album and the band, but I probably won’t pay 30 bucks to someone on Craigslist for a Beach House ticket again.

Good vibes to you all. Haha.

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