Live Review: Beach Fossils @ Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 5/28/2011

As a native of the greater DC area, I've been going to the Kennedy Center for various and sundry events as long as I can remember. But never once, my little loves, was it to see a band. Opera, yes. Plays, you betcha. Orchestra performances, naturally. But you know how it goes, there's a first time for everything. And when my friend Carolyn mentioned that Beach Fossils would be partaking in the KenCen's free Millennium Stage concert series, well, after I squealed with delight I decided there was no better time to check out how the KenCen does rock & roll (the answer being pretty well).

I was pleasantly surprised to find tons of people sitting around, waiting for the Brooklyn boys to do their thing. Sure, some of them were definitely tourists hunting for free fun, but I'd bet there were plenty of bona fide Fossil fans there, too. What followed for the enjoyment of one and all was a delightfully breezy 14-song set, filled with that blissful summertime jangle that Beach Fossils does better than just about anybody. They began with the new "What A Pleasure," from the EP of the same name. The subtle twist and shout and all that langour got things moving in the right direction from the very first note.

"Golden Age" was, well, golden, bursting with that kicky groove that hallmarks a
Beach Fossils song. I was really impressed with "The Horse," a song that on record is great but live turned into the sparkling waves on a lakeside weekend getaway. Endearingly, the band admitted to wondering whether or not anyone would turn up, and the full house collectively chuckled. When the band launched into "Daydream," my favorite off their self-titled LP, I sat gazing at the stage in relative euphoria. It's such a perfect summer song, that one, and Beach Fossils nailed it. During "Vacation," a rather enthusiastic fan bounded down the center aisle to the front and then bounded back to round up some friends. The dance party down the front was allowed to continue, probably because the band's good vibes rubbed off onto the red-blazered ushers. "Twelve Roses," played next to last, was glorious, making me wish I was shaking a tailfeather instead of sitting with asleep feet.

All told, it was a great set. The sound was wonderful, the band was fantastic, the crowd was respectful, and a good time appeared to have been had by all. I probably prefer seeing bands in a club, where folks are there specifically to see said band, but then again, it was pretty cool rubbing elbows with well-heeled persons getting ready to attend a formal performance on another of the KenCen's big deal stages. A unique experience, to be sure, and if you're able to, you might wanna check out what's on offer for these free (did I mention they're free?!) performances.

Calyer (Beach Fossils from the What A Pleasure EP)

[photo by Giulia Mazza]


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