Review: Beach House w/ Jana Hunter @ Cargo

I was super duper excited for this show. Perhaps because I had such ridiculously high expectations I left feeling slightly underwhelmed. Let me start from the beginning.

I left early so I could get some food from Sommerfield, then headed over to Cargo. I like Cargo, I think it’s quite a nice venue. I got my hand stamped and took a seat on one of their comfy chairs. Cargo also doubles up as a bar/restaurant, as well as a music venue. The lights were really low and there were candles on the table and I started to feel a bit sleepy.

It soon came to 8 o’clock and we were still waiting to go inside the stage area, even though doors were supposedly at 7.30. Similarly, Jana Hunter was supposedly meant to start at 8.15. The last time I looked at the time before she started it was 8.40. I was suprised to see that there were no other support acts. Jana took to the stage. I have only heard the split she’s done with Devendra Banhart, so I was pleasantly suprised with how good she was. She had Victoria join her for some harmonies on one song, and Alex joined in on a bass for a few upbeat numbers. She asked Alex to tell a joke while she tuned her guitar. Alex came up to the mic and said “What’s shivering at the bottom of the ocean?”, silence, “a nervous wreck”… more silence, then a delayed applause from the audience. Jana stood up and said “that wasn’t worth tuning my guitar for”. Her joke was funnier than his. She didn’t play for very long, maybe about half an hour. She was down to play for 45 minutes on the stage times. There wasn’t much talk with the crowd, and after her last song the band abruptly  put their instruments down and left the stage. I don’t think the audience realised that it was their last song, they just left the stage without saying anything. There was a delayed round of applause from the audience once everyone realised that was it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Jana Hunter and would like to see her play again.

After a little while Beach House came on. They sounded fantastic. Alex’s guitar was dreamy and Victoria’s vocals were beautiful. They didn’t have setlists written down, so there was still an element of suprise guessing what songs they would play. The reason why I came away from the gig feeling underwhelmed is perhaps because they didn’t play very long. I don’t have a watch, but I think they only played about 45 – 50 minutes. On the stage times that were pinned up everywhere it said they would be playing for 90 minutes. I don’t remember the exact order of the set, but it went something like this:

You Came To Me, Wedding Bell, Tokyo Witch, Gila, New Song, Master of None, D.A.R.L.I.N.G, Heart of Chambers, Used To Be, Astronaut, Encore: Apple Orchard.

So let me dissect the setlist. I thought it was nice, they played a couple of oldies which was good. Set highlight for me was D.A.R.L.I.N.G because I love that song so much. Heart of Chambers was pretty awesome too. The new song was absolutely fantastic, I hope somebody recorded it. When they left the stage I thought that it went a bit too quick, so I was expecting a few songs in the encore. I looooove Apple Orchard, so I was pleased they played it, but I was disappointed when they left the stage after that. I wanted more! I would have especially liked to hear Auburn and Ivory and Turtle Island. There wasn’t much banter with the crowd. Victoria seems like a funny character, so it would have been nice to hear her talk and joke more. She did talk about having a plane in her ear, which, according to her, is what happens when you fly too much.

After the band left I had a look at the time and it was only 10.30. I waited around to see if they had the Devotion vinyl with them. I’ve held off buying it from their website because I thought it would be nicer to get it in person. Alex came out and started packing his gear. I asked him if they had it and he said no, they haven’t got anything. This is perhaps another reason why I felt dissatisfied, I was looking forward to getting my hands on the LP. I asked Alex when they’d be back. He said “probably not for a while. Maybe like a year.” to which I replied “A YEAR?” (this is the WRONG answer!) and he said they’ve been touring so much. I said about how I would have liked to see them with Cat Power in June but I had exams. I also mentioned their Fleet Foxes show which I would have also liked to have gone to. He said that that was “touring with superstars”. I asked him if they’re recording a new record or are they going to start soon and he said they don’t want to rush it. Feeling saddened by the fact that they won’t be back for ages, I said “see you in a year” and Alex said thanks for coming, then I walked back. Because the show ended so early I got in at about 11.

In terms of photography, the light sucked. At first it was ok, then after the first 2 songs Victoria asked them to turn the lights down so it could fit the ‘dark’ mood of the next songs. It was dark. She’s right, it does suit their music, but it made it hard to get nice pictures. They had a disco ball and some nasty red light and that was it. Nevermind.

In conclusion, this show would have been tons better if they played a bit longer. They didn’t seem that excited or happy to be playing for us, even though I felt super excited to be watching them. I think the reason I felt underwhelmed is partially because I love them so much and my expectations were so high, and also partially because they just didn’t deliver all that I hoped. Perhaps it’s just because I wanted more. More songs, more talk, more light (!) and a vinyl LP, or atleast a nice setlist to steal.

Maybe next time… which will hopefully be in less than a year.

More photos on my Flickr.

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2 Responses to Review: Beach House w/ Jana Hunter @ Cargo

  1. Adam December 3, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    Sorry to hear it was a bit underwhelming, I must admit their support set for Fleet Foxes didn’t really live up to my expectations either. But a year until they return? BOOOOOOOOOOO!

  2. Chalky December 3, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Yeah it’s a bit annoying when you’re really excited to see a band and then afterwards you come away with that feeling that something was missing (like a few more songs etc!) Maybe they’ll read your blog and take some of your feedback on board…

    btw Great interview yesterday!

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