Beach House/Wild Nothing at Cain’s Ballroom — Monday July 9, 2012
Of all the shows I’ve attended at Cain’s Ballroom I can’t recall an opening act as well received as Blacksburg, Virginia’s Wild Nothing. It certainly helped that their wistful, chiming white-boy melodies and pedestrian tempos are cut from the same gauze as headlining Sub Pop act Beach House, but their textured, shiny college rock arrangements were all distinctly theirs. A five-piece complete with a pair of Roland synthesizers and finely-mustachioed drummer, their nice clothes and unthreatening demeanor all looked to be on loan from Vampire Weekend.
Their rippling, pleasant melodies and vintage, glittery synthesizers —splashed occasionally by a tribal rhythm or two— were a good fit for the Beach House crowd, who either were so hungry for the Baltimore band’s long-overdue headlining stop in Oklahoma (they played Brady Theater with the aforementioned Vampire Weekend and The Very Best about a year and a half previous) or so enthused to hear the material from their fourth record, Bloom, that they filled Cain’s so as to threaten its capacity.
The band that came out initially sounded a bit road-weary and unenthused, especially after shifting down gears from the exciting opener “Wild” into a slew of arc-less mid-tempo numbers. The Victoria Legrand who sang “Norway” last night just seemed a bit off her game; not quite up to competing with the occasional bouts of bass synthesizer that muddled her vocals. To her great credit however, she returned to her stride for the second half of the set, even despite a teenage fan climbing into the rafters above Cain’s stage during “Zebra.” Legrand noticed and waved the guy off with her hand, all the while singing as breathily and beautifully as if she were in the studio. “Please be nice to him! Let’s be nice to each other! Sorry about that!” she shouted into the song’s cymbal-crashing climax as, Alex Scally’s melancholy guitar loop soundtracked a scene where a security guard yanked the young man off the rafters and down on to a ladder.
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