Pink and blue were dancing… Culture Vultures were fortunate enough to attend the Beach House Installation in Los Angeles and no, it was no ordinary night.
Beach House Installation – Los Angeles
In truth, neither of us really thought we’d get tickets, but there we were on April 11th at 10:40 AM, me with my phone at the ready, Jay with one trigger-happy finger on a mouse and eyes locked on the monitor before him. The day started off-track with me being taken from the stale comfort of my Ikea work desk to the middle of Santee Alley in the rain where direct access to a computer would be non-negotiable, thus leaving the burden of scoring tickets to fall on my love whose fast-paced job is anything but a sit-and-wait kind of gig.
Eleven AM rolls around and by this time I’ve already given up, having recoiled into a sulking ball of distress, when I receive it: A photo of the pop-up screen confirming a two-ticket purchase to the Beach House Installation in LA. And we both feel it, we’re overcome with it: The shock of having scored tickets to a show that sold out in less than 15 seconds and the joy that naturally accompanies that monumental feat. As Jason so eloquently put it in our discussion of this post: “Accomplishing that makes me feel like I can achieve anything.” That’s the perfect way to sum up this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Beach House Installation
The announcement of their Installation tour was an answered prayer for fans. Described as being the creative exploration of the blossoming feelings that occur during the primary stages of the music-making process, the Installation tour was Victoria and Alex’s solution to the doldrums that plague the journey from concept to record release. As stated by the band, “there are many chances along the way for the feeling to get lost. A lot of ‘bedroom’ bands experience this when they get to the studio or the stage. This installation performance is an attempt to elicit this pure, embryonic state of mind for ourselves and our audience.” With its intimate, alternative venue choices, two-piece set list, and meticulously-crafted (by the duo themselves) installation, the show really did bring the audience into the fold of not only their creative process but their world.
The venue was undisclosed until 36 hours before the performance and Jason and I, having discussed possible locations only days before, had a baller-ass “Called it!” moment when it was known that the event would be taking place in the DTLA Arts District. Which was more than okay with us since 1) it’s a 10-minute drive from the beautiful Highland Park (represent!) and 2) parking at 7 PM on a Thursday in most parts of the still uninhabited Arts District is a breeze and that night was no exception. Walking into the venue was like walking into a tangible, architectural manifestation of both Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars. The fiber optic flowers found inside the Depression Cherry record are present in various forms: as visuals projected throughout the venue and in two glass cases filled with rows and columns of even more of their coruscating friends, each showing off their Sunday best for the audience. The cool, gray tones that make up the Thank Your Lucky Stars palette were also present, conforming themselves to the shape of the band member’s faces, bodies, and instruments. The atmosphere created by the band–one in which the dual nature of “pink and blue” is explored through sight, sound, and touch–accentuated the emotions already present in songs like Turtle Island, One Thing, D.A.R.L.I.N.G., and other two-piece greats off of their self-titled, Devotion, and Thank Your Lucky Stars albums.
It’s funny because, after the show, Jason and I found ourselves at a loss for words as to what the correct identifier would be for what we just saw. We couldn’t classify it as a “concert” because the Installation was anything but. It was more than watching a band you deeply respect and admire perform a set list; we were watching two great musicians in the throes of their creative process, we were stepping into their collaborative mind and tiptoeing through its halls, silently and in awe. So while a label isn’t important or necessary, we had to settle on something so we chose “performance” or, if we’re in the mood for something sexier, “performance art piece.”
Only in hindsight can we see our experience and its magnitude for what it was and when I look back on the Beach House show, which I often and fondly do, I can’t help but revel in the beauty and freedom of that night. The performance itself was something that could never be replicated or replaced, but more profound than the performance is the places their music takes you to. It’s these places and their associated feelings and memories that stay with you forever.
So thank you, Beach House and everyone involved in making that tour a reality. It was breathtaking, captivating, and unforgettable.
Read the band’s full Installation tour announcement here.