Beach House Live @ Vicar Street 28 October 2012

On the back of two of the best albums of the last five years, Baltimore duo Beach House returned to Dublin and a predictably sold out Vicar Street riding the crest of a wave. If third album Teenage Dream heralded their arrival as serious contenders, this year’s Bloom was conclusive proof that Beach House are currently at the peak of their considerable powers.

They have built their reputation on a richly layered brand of hazy dream pop, anchored by the commanding voice and presence of singer Victoria Legrand.  With an expanded line-up of three for the live shows, Beach House delivered a competent set, but if truth be told, the show was a little bit disappointing, lacking any real major peaks or excitement.

It is hard to pinpoint why it felt like something of a letdown –Legrand was in fine voice, the music was tight and the sound was pretty good. It just seemed to lack that special ingredient that turns a good live show into a great one.
Opening with ‘Wild’, the bulk of the set was plucked  from their last two albums but there was a treat for fans of second album Devotion when they played ‘Gila’ early on.

Crowd pleasers like ‘Zebra’,  ‘The Hours’ ‘Take Care’ and the wonderful  ‘Myth’ were all gleefully lapped up by their adoring fans with closer ’10 Mile Stereo’ going down particularly well.  The band returned for just one encore, the hypnotic ‘Irene’ and that was it.
For the whole concert, Victoria Legrand remained rooted behind her keyboard at the back of the stage, radiating cool, icy detachment with the other two musicians stationed out front. While not expecting Iggy Pop like theatrics, there was no real sense of connection with the audience, and in a live context, their wonderful songs seemed one paced and repetitive over the course of 75 minutes.

No doubt the vast majority of fans at the show went home happy having  witnessed one of the hottest acts on the scene right now deliver a tight, well rehearsed set of some of the bands best loved tracks. But at times this seemed like just another show, and from a band as good as Beach House, we should expect a little more than that.