J. Mascis opened for label-mate Beach House on Tuesday, April 19—one of the in-between Coachella shows at Pappy and Harriet’s.
Macias did not have a wall of Marshall amps behind him like he did when his Dinosaur Jr. performed at Coachella in 2013. Instead, he was seated as he performed. He played “The Wagon,” a track by Dinosaur Jr. first released in 1990; according to his tour manager, it’s a tune he seldom plays live. Mascis weaved in a few Bowie instrumentals as he led into his set, and then took a minimalist approach by only switching between two well-worn Gibson acoustic guitars—each of which were magical in Mascis hands. His stunning set included “Heal the Star” and “Make It Right.”
Fans dispersed after J. Mascis to refill their beverages and grab some great barbecue from Pappy’s grill—but these fanatics quickly reappeared to see the headliner. Fans surrounded me. Some who came from the Bay Area asked how long I would be standing in front of them. “Three songs,” I replied (as is standard when shooting many bands), “and then I will watch the show from the comfort of the picnic tables.” A young gal said “OMG I am going to cry!” over and over as Beach House entered stage right. I don’t blame her: The ability to see your favorite band in such a small venue, under the stars no less, is a dreamlike opportunity.
The backdrop for Baltimore’s Beach House was interesting—a large cabinet filled with flowers. It gave the band eerie, gentle presence that concealed their faces—almost to the point where they were barely visible to the camera. Guitarist Alex Scally and vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand started the concert as a duo, filling the desert sky with songs that were subdued—matching the arid environment. Beach House began with the mournful tune “Saltwater”: “Love you all the time, even Though you’re not mine. Love you all the time, dream I’m in the saltwater.” It almost made me join the excited fan standing next to me in synchronized tears.
Beach House pleased with “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.” and the well-received “Walk in the Park.” The concert ended with “Elegy to the Void.”
“Goddamn. Thank you very much for being under the gauzy stars,” Legrand said in closing.
Beach House will perform Sunday evening on the Outdoor Stage at Coachella.