Concert Reviews

Beach House Made a Dreamy Sold-Out Stop in Dallas on Sunday

Beach House was just luminous at their sold-out Sunday night show at Dallas' The Factory.
Beach House was just luminous at their sold-out Sunday night show at Dallas' The Factory. Preston Jones
There were moments Sunday night, during a sold-out show at The Factory in Deep Ellum, when Beach House allowed itself to be bathed in light.

These fleeting instances of illumination revealed the features of the three band members making music on a fairly spartan stage — but they were few and far between. Still, visible or not, the impact was undiminished, as vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand made plain, not long into the dream pop duo (expanded live to a trio)’s 100-minute set: “You need anything, you just ask for it,” she purred, as the capacity crowd, its phones outstretched to film nearly every moment of the evening, roared its approval. “We want you to feel good, to feel wild, to feel love from us. Even if it’s in the dark, it’s still love.”

Sunday’s stop on the band’s current tour supporting its sprawling eighth album, Once Twice Melody, was Beach House’s first North Texas gig in nearly four years, and returned the musicians to the same venue they last played here.

As ever, the gorgeous, impenetrable wall of sound conjured by Legrand, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Alex Scally and drummer James Barone felt like being plunged into a waking dream, suffused with dread around the margins and borne aloft by Legrand’s exquisite contralto, slicing through the metaphorical and literal fog like diamond rain.

Indeed, Sunday often felt less like a performance than an extended exercise in sustaining a vibe — not to suggest that Beach House is not extraordinarily skilled at what it does in making its luminous music, but rather, the cumulative effect takes precedence over any individual moment.

The stuttering strobe lights deployed during “Dark Spring,” for instance, or the ghostly, close-up images of Legrand’s hands on piano keys, or Barone’s hands cradling drumsticks, or Scally’s fingers plucking strings faintly visible on the enormous screen stretching the length of the stage.

The prevailing sensation is a feeling of something half-remembered as it’s happening in front of you — quite literally embodying the idea of “dream pop.”

Sunday often felt less like a performance than an extended exercise in sustaining a vibe — not to suggest that Beach House is not extraordinarily skilled at what it does in making its luminous music, but rather, the cumulative effect takes precedence over any individual moment.

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Melody unfolds across 18 tracks in total, and while Beach House pulled roughly half its set list — seven songs — from the double LP, it also took care to reach back to 2010’s Teen Dream and 2012’s Bloom, assembling a cohesive smear of satisfying sounds that filled the room as beautifully as the light ricocheting from the enormous disco ball that dangled above the sold-out crowd (“Biggest damn disco ball this side of Texas,” Legrand cracked at one point).

Late in Sunday’s set, Beach House launched into “Space Song,” from 2015’s Depression Cherry. As Legrand intoned the reverb-drenched lyric that becomes a climactic mantra — “Fall back into place” — there was a sense of the room responding in unison, rising and falling as one, even as glances around the space often revealed a great many attendees viewing the proceedings through their phones, recording nearly every moment of the 18-song set.

As is customary at large events in the 21st century, the audience was all together, apart, floating through the haze and blinding lights, bound together by the viscerally pleasant experience. That feeling of unity wasn’t mutually exclusive, either. Legrand addressed those gathered midway through by telling the crowd, “You’re like a huge wave.”

A sensation, however brief, of restoration, underpinned by a profound appreciation, came from both sides of the stage: “I can always tell how amazing the crowd is by how out of tune the guitar gets,” Scally joked midway through the evening. “So, good job.”

All of it combined to serve as a potent reminder that, sometimes, in order to see clearly, you really only need to feel deeply.
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Preston Jones is a Dallas-based writer who spent a decade as the pop music critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors honored his work three times, including a 2017 first place award for comment and criticism (Class AAAA). His writing has also appeared in the New York Observer, The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, Central Track, Oklahoma Today and Slant Magazine.
Contact: Preston Jones