| Image by Frank Hamilton
| Image by Frank Hamilton
People are going to start to think that Noise is on Wham City’s proverbial and collective dick, but really, we just went out to see Beach House for an early show before jetting a few blocks over to Sonar for the world-famous Beatnuts, one of the most schizoid two-shows-in-one-night combos we’ve experienced in some time. (For more on the ‘Nuts show, check this week’s forthcoming old-school paper version of CP for Jason Torres’ take on the intoxicated demons.) So color us surprised when we got to the Current Gallery–after an hour’s layover at an Inner Harbor bar enjoying $8 rail bourbon and nervously eyeballing the “Irish” band setting up in the corner while the Current, running behind, was still prepping the show–and it turned out to be a taping for a Wham City “talk show” featuring host Ed Schrader, interviewees Rjyan “Cex” Kidwell and David Yaffee of Food Not Bombs, as well as musical guest Beach House.
The mock talk was pretty funny, with Schrader’s ultra-deadpan, what-me-worry? host “character” coming off like a smart ass whose rapid-fire, slightly nervous repartee desperately tries to disguise the fact that he’s got no idea what the fuck he’s doing onstage. (Plus the usual Wham City goonery: The house band was a noise-rock drums-and-guitar duo.) A small sampling of what we learned: musicians are “gayer than most people,” according to Kidwell; the last album David Yaffee paid money for featured (shockingly!) “protest songs”; and both members of Beach House would choose the Zombies’ Odyssey and Oracle as their desert island disc.
The House’s lease holders, Victoria LeGrande and Alex Scally, were both apparently under the weather that night, but since their drowsy, afternoon-nap sound already feels like it’s popped two or three NyQuil gel caps, we can honestly say that our enjoyment wasn’t compromised by any viral infections or influenza strains. We were treated to a video beforehand, a dreamy wash of late-night party imagery that went all digital-video pixilated and made good use of its high-tech-meets-lo-fi production methods. Ditto the band’s music: Its shuffling rhythm tracks were triggered by Scally pausing and unpausing his laptop, as LeGrande’s hands crabwalked up and down her keyboard, producing creaky melodies and harpsichordlike runs. The handful of new songs weren’t too different from the heavily sedated mood music on the band’s excellent 2006 self-titled debut album on Carpark. (Overheard outside after the show: “Those new Beach House songs . . . I can’t wait to take drugs to those.” Now, kids, c’mon.) Scally’s guitar played high-register, heavily treated notes that hung in the air like country slide guitar pickled in heavy syrup, and LeGrande’s voice did something similar with vocal chords. The set was cut a bit short due to illness, and then it was back out into the cold, with Beach House’s summer-idyll-gone-to-seed music being the perfect accompaniment to freezing our asses off.