Live Review: Beach House at Manchester Cathedral

on Thursday, December 02, 2010
Words: Kieran Toms
Photo Credit: Man Alive!

Live: Beach House at Manchester Cathedral (19th Nov '10)

There aren’t very many gigs which begin with a speech from the Dean expressing his delight about the “young people from America” coming to play, and that there’ll be a collection at the end for the building’s roof, but then Beach House’s show at Manchester Cathedral wasn’t really that typical.

The most striking thing about this performance was the setting, ensconced in the middle of the cathedral, amidst the arches. Different viewing angles led to different stained glass windows being glimpsed in the distance, and the lights from the stage illuminated thousand-year-old patterns on the walls and the ceiling.

Of course this grandeur is all well and good, but it needed a performance to match from Beach House. Although starting slightly slowly, perhaps initially overawed by the surroundings, frontwoman Victoria Legrand’s voice held up magically, and if anything, managed to be even more ethereal than on record, the audience’s experience of it enhanced by the backdrop. Joined by a keyboardist and drummer to bolster the usual duo, the band played slowly and delicately throughout.

Though there are times when such uniformity of dynamic perhaps left the set dragging a little, and the band were fairly static onstage, with so much else to marvel at visually such imperfections can be forgotten.

Overall the graceful music of Beach House is a fantastic fit for the venue, with a particular stand out, as on record, being 'Zebra', whose notes swell and swoop to fill every nook and cranny of the cathedral, as the sound and the lights and the ancient architecture all combine for something immensely affecting.

DOWNLOAD: Beach House - Zebra

DOWNLOAD: Beach House - Norway

Both the above downloads are taken from the Beach House website and appear on the latest album 'Teen Dream'.

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