Following their set of shows at Webster Hall, Beach House announced a special set of “Installation Shows” at secret venues across various cities, including two nights in New York. These special shows were meant to strip down the Beach House live show to the bare minimal, playing continuous sets at unusual venues such as art venues and community centers, sharing songs from their self-titled debut, breakthrough sophomore album Devotion, as well as one of two new albums that they released last year, Thank Your Lucky Stars (released via Sub Pop).
The chance to see Beach House at a small unusual place and to hear older material that I never got to see performed live for the most part was too inticing to pass up. The shows sold out in mere minutes, to the surprise of no one, so clearly I wasn’t alone. When I got to the venue, I immediately got the sense that this would be something different. We were lined up inside the Knockdown Center, waiting to be allowed into the “performance space.”
Once we past a flurry of no photography signs, we were led into the small room which was dark and smokey, with a silky screen draped over the stage, putting a direct barrier between us and the band. Upon announcing the shows the band advised us to bring pillows to sit on, and it was very clear why. The crowd was forced to sit down on the floor, in a tight cramped space that my 6’6 frame didn’t quite appreciate it. Once you got used to both feet going numb from falling asleep, it wasn’t all that bad.
After reminding us again not to take any photos until after the performance, the band took the stage and began their performance with “”Saltwalter,” the opening track of their debut album. It was great to hear such an old song performed from such a well seasoned version of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. But instantly, there was just something off and slightly disconnecting from seeing the band perform behind a screen. They still sounded great, but I just felt so far away. Which was odd considering how intimate the space was. There was a beautiful art exhibit and projections that were cast alongside the band, but it wasn’t quite enough to truly put me into heart of the shore.
Getting to hear old favorites like “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.,” “Turtle Island,” and “Tokyo Witch’ was great, but the performance just left something to be desired which oddly enough has never been something I’ve had an issue with when seeing them live. It was a great idea and cool experiment, but I don’t know if installation shows are quite the best way to take in a Beach House performance.
Find the setlist and some photos of the exhibit post show (taken via iPhone) posted below.
Beach House Setlist:
3. The Traveller
4. Apple Orchard
5. Turtle Island
6. One Thing
8. She’s So Lovely
9. House on the Hill
10. Master Of None
11. On the Sea
12. Tokyo Witch
13. Rough Song
14. Somewhere Tonight