Beach House rocked Alki Beach at Sub Pop’s 30thAnniversary Party. The free outdoor festival included four stages that featured 18 artists from the now-iconic Seattle record label. Scattered thunderstorms threatened the venue all day long, but hardly dampened the crowds.
Beach House stepped onto the Flippity Flop Stage to eerie golden backlighting courtesy of a wildfire-smoke sunset. The Baltimore dream-pop duo includes keyboardist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally, who were joined by drummer James Barone. They emphasized tunes from their latest release, 7, which has been well-received for its complex sonic layers and weightier-than-usual psychedelia. Beach House did create a massive sound, but Legrand’s ethereal vocals still floated atop the clouds of synth, slide guitar, and steady drums. Both artists played covered up—Scally by a dark, full-length overcoat with forearm-rolled sleeves, and Legrand behind a stylish PVC suit, long auburn hair, and a mask of black eye makeup.
Earlier in the day, Los Angeles hip-hop group clipping‘s rapper Daveed Diggs coaxed an initially reluctant audience into frenetic jumping and stage-diving. A representative of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office then announced the official proclamation of Sub Pop Day to recognize the label’s musical and cultural influence. Seattle locals Shabazz Palaces followed with a set of Afrocentric experimental hip-hop and eccentric fashion. As Beach House concluded, the enormous crowd tried to filter next door to the Loser Stage to see closing act Father John Misty, but was disappointed by an impenetrable sea of earlier arrivals. With the popularity of SPF30, Seattle music fans are already anticipating SPF40 and beyond.
Beach House will return to Seattle’s Moore Theatre on Wednesday May 8 & Thursday May 9. A few tickets are still available.