Imagine a music festival overflowing with cheap booze, too many wrist stamps, throngs of people (some who seem, like, really happy), and inventive dance moves all hustled into one giant, sweaty room and you’ve got Beach House’s show Thursday night at the Crystal Ballroom. Now, imagine all that plus a bewitching light spectacular. Right?
Despite the congested atmosphere, Victoria Legrand and her band maintained their chillwave cool as they emerged onto a stage cloaked in fog and dived into “Levitation” from their critically acclaimed 2015 release Depression Cherry.
With the crowd pushed back against the nether reaches of the venue, Beach House’s hypnotizing light show kept even the most distant viewer in thrall, as the Crystal Ballroom got buckled up for a seriously trippy ride.
Here are five of the places to which Beach House’s light display transported us:
1. Aerobics class: The perky beat of “All Your Yeahs” from Thank Your Lucky Stars coupled with cotton candy pink and blue spotlights illuminated to the beat, instantly conjured images of leotards and mini trampolines. The countless legs stepping in time gave Crystal Ballroom’s infamous spring-loaded floor a run for it’s money. It won in the end.
2. Outer space: Itsy-bitsy lights dangled floor-to-ceiling, glittering like stars in front of a dizzying projection of a mysterious, spinning object. Exactly what said object was remained unclear, but we’re going with the legs of a space station. Oldie “10 Mile Stereo” filled the room and lifted us ever higher (some more literally than others). The glitter lights picked up pace, white spotlights hit the room, and the spinning mystery object spun ever faster until suddenly everything stopped and left us all like, “whoa.”
3. The inside of a lava lamp: If you have never seen Beach House perform “Master of None” in front of a gently swirling, sensual red background, then please do so—it should be some type of relaxation therapy. Honestly, as soon as the song’s chime-filled intro picked up bodies were moving between time and space, which is how lava lamps work, right?
4. Prom: Among Depression Cherry’s many shining moments last night was “Wildflower,” performed with Legrand looking quite the teen dream, peeking from behind her massive hair, swaying in front of an iridescent green backdrop to a synth line that wouldn’t quit. The whole scene made you want to sweep up the person to your left and commence the sweetest, school-days slow dance (which I definitely saw happen, for reals).
5. The car wash: As Beach House wound down their set, they struck into “Elegy to the Void,” which featured some backdrop art seriously reminiscent of early Microsoft screensavers. Long, stringy, er, strings stretched ever forward toward the audience, providing the same illusion of false-movement as a car wash. The tune’s '80s vibes made it the coolest virtual car wash you could ever imagine.
Top hits “Myth” and “Sparks” were saved for last and gently brought the crowd back to reality—as in, to an overcast Portland evening in April. Which was just the right comedown for a Thursday evening.
Beach House's Thank Your Lucky Stars is available from Sub Pop records.