Given Papercuts' recent move to Sup Pop (and Beach House's Alex Scally's long-time involvement with the band), it's hardly surprising that the San Francisco artist would occupy such a highly coveted opening slot. But Papercuts and Beach House have more in common than merely being friends and labelmates. Like the headliners, Jason Quever and his band make dreamy, atmospheric pop music, and they do it well. Perhaps I'm just influenced by the cover art of the last album, but listening to Quever's moody melodies always makes me a feel a bit like I'm floating out in space.
At its core, Papercuts is the musical project of one, but front man Jason Quever often incorporates additional musicians to help spin his multi-layered sonic web. For Wednesday night's show, Papercuts was five men strong. They played a handful of tracks from the last studio album (including the excellent "Future Primitive"), but the majority of their set comprised songs from their upcoming March release, Fading Parade, which you can now stream in its entirety, courtesy of NPR Music.
Once the strains of Papercuts had faded out and the smoke machines had pumped out enough to sufficiently obscure the large room, Beach House stepped on stage and offered a quick introduction. Of course with Victoria Legrand at the mic, even a simple introduction like "good evening" instantly becomes sexy thanks to her distinctive throaty voice. After a brief pause, the trio launched into not a track from last year's hit Teen Dream, but an older one - "Gila."
As is often the case with more subdued, hazy acts, Beach House's performance was a bit lacking in the visual department, but the three large, colorfully lit pyramids lining the back of the stage proved to be a nice focal point - or at least an alternative to Legrand's dramatic hair tosses.
Clearly, the emphasis was on the music. Though the stage banter was often humorous and oddly revealing (Legrand took a moment to both reference her habit of sleeping around and reflect on the Internet's uncanny ability to make everyone get older, faster), for whatever reason, the lighting engineer cloaked the band in darkness when they weren't playing and only threw back on the rainbow colored lights (or twinkling starlit backdrop) when the next song was underway.
Though Scally promised a Vietnamese sandwich to anyone who danced (specifically during "Lover of Mine"), few people seemed to take his offer seriously and instead fell back on their slowly swaying ways.
Beach House & Papercuts' tour continues in Philly tonight and returns to NYC for another sold out show at Webster Hall on Friday. More pictures, a couple of videos and the setlist from last night (2/23), below...
Beach House "10 Mile Stereo" @ Webster Hall 2/23/11
Beach House "Lover Of Mine" @ Webster Hall 2/23/11
Beach House set list
Walk in the Park
Master of None
Lover of Mine
Used to Be
Heart of Chambers
10 Mile Stereo