Published Oct 06, 2014When Beach House announced their Northern Exposure tour, it gave fans in underappreciated locales like Anchorage, Nelson, Thunder Bay and Fredericton an opportunity to experience the Baltimore dream poppers' celebrated and evolving live show. Playing their first show in the nation's capital since opening for the Clientele back in 2007, Beach House brought out hordes of fans to Ottawa's 900-seat Bronson Centre Theatre.
Opening his show with just his Stratocaster and a hearty dose of reverb, fellow Baltimorean and former member of Arbouretum Steve Strohmeier gave a 20-minute set of hazy guitar and folksy vocals that unfortunately found itself battling the still-settling crowd.
Fleet Foxes guitarist Sklyer Skjelset followed Strohmeier with another brief performance that had the Seattle guitarist attacking his effect-laden Jazzmaster through a menacing set that referenced '90s indie noise rockers like Bardo Pond, Flying Saucer Attack and Lee Ranaldo-led Sonic Youth.
Entering the stage amongst heaps of equipment, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally slinked through soothing versions of "Apple Orchard" and "Master of None" (from their self-titled debut) before bringing drummer Christopher Bear of Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear out to help perform Bloom's "Wild." After debuting a new track, the trio invited Strohmeier and Skjelset onstage for the majestic, collapsing outro to Teen Dream's "Silver Soul." Staying on as a quintet for the remainder of the 90-minute show, the beefy live version of Beach House helped give songs like "Norway," "Other People" and "Zebra" a lush and passionate feel that mimicked the waves of deep purple and washed-out red stage lights.
The band returned to give the loving and appreciative crowd — whom the talkative and droll Legrand thanked more than once — a two-song encore. Beach House managed to transform their introspective brand of ethereal pop into something immediate, energetic and most importantly, unforgettable.