Review: Beach House at Union Chapel

Oh! Dreamy, dreamy Beach House. I love Beach House hugely, so I was super excited to see them live again. In my excitement I lost the ability to speak and was reduced to high pitched squeeling in the prelude to their performance.

Union Chapel, for the benefit of anyone who has never been there, is the most beautiful venue for live music in London. It’s a giant church with a high ceiling and beautiful arches. It’s got brilliant acoustics, and is so civilized that there are people walking around selling you ice cream. And you can get tea from mugs. Lovely! Contrary to popular belief, the fourth pew is best. Being on the front pew is good, but, unless you’re a fan of nostril photography, is not a prime photographic position. We saved ourselves some pews in the hot spots and eagerly awaited Beach House.

San Francisco’s Papercuts opened up the show. I had seen them play once before earlier this year at Rough Trade East. It was enjoyable, though the singer’s voice was so reverb-y I couldn’t understand a thing he was saying or singing. 

I was then commandeered by the ice cream lady and couldn’t resist getting a chocolate ice cream. This is why Union Chapel is brilliant. You can sit, listen to beautiful music, AND eat ice cream. The only thing missing is a Nando’s. 

Onward! Vetiver played next, as co-headliners to Beach House. I saw them supporting Fleet Foxes in February and again at Pure Groove for an acoustic instore. At Union Chapel I thought they were brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed them. The acoustics worked well for their songs especially. They were very warmly received by the audience, I’m under the impression that alot of the crowd were there to see them. There was one song with some beautiful harmonica and sweet harmonies between the singer and keyboard player. Listen to their sweet songs here.

After a change over and a lengthy debate amongst my friends about whether the suitcase (pictured with Alex) was white painted black or black painted white, Beach House took to the stage. They opened with an instrumental, brand new song. It was pretty exciting. Through the set they alternated between old an new, following the first song with You Came To Me, a new song, Gila, a new song, Master of None, new song, Astronaut, new song and then Heart of Chambers. It was completely beautiful. Victoria has such a soothing, hypnotic voice. Combined with Alex’s dreamy slide guitar, it was absolutely wonderful. The songs enveloped me and it was like being in a dream. All of the new songs were stunning, and I am 99% sure that the new Beach House record, due out next year, will be one of my favourites, if not my MOST favourite, record of 2010. I can’t wait for it to be completed and released. They didn’t play the new song that they played at Cargo last year.

When they left the stage, I had the same problem I had last year: I wanted more. More! My favourite Beach House song is probably D.A.R.L.I.N.G, they played it last year and I didn’t really expect them to play it this time. I adore Turtle Island and Auburn and Ivory, but I didn’t expect those either. I thought it was a given that they’d play Used To Be, but they didn’t. The gorgeous guitar part at the start of Apple Orchard would be enough to propel me into a super swoon, so I was really hoping they would play that. Everyone kept clapping and they returned for an encore. Apple Orchard. It was lovely. 

I would happily pay my money to see Beach House play again. In my top 5 live bands of the year, in some really good company. I can’t wait to see them again. Listen to their beautiful music, I can’t recommend Devotion enough. Perfect.

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One Response to Review: Beach House at Union Chapel

  1. russwilliams_uk August 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm #

    Well, we were sitting in front of you in the third pew!

    Although I totally disagree, tonight was all about the mighty Vetiver…

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