Beacon Sets the Mood With Contemplative Dance Jams at Billboard Lounge

Chad Kamenshine

Some nights, win or lose, the vibe from the Nets game carries over to the post-hoops performances held in the Billboard Lounge, the swanky nightspot nestled in the bowels of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. This wasn’t the case on Friday (Feb. 3), though, as the electronic duo Beacon used contemplative dance jams to create its own world within the afterparty.

Some thought went into this. As singer Thomas Mullarney told Billboard afterward, the group almost opened with “I’m U,” the leadoff track from their 2016 sophomore album, Escapements. It’s a gorgeous piece of 3 a.m. mood music, but Mullarney and bandmate Jacob Gossett “read the room” and rightfully went with “Better or Worse,” which offsets its maudlin vibe with a muted house groove. As Mullarney sang with whispery soulfulness, projections on the stage backdrop made it look like it was snowing.

The chilly, meditative vibe carried over to the next song, “Overseer,” from the Brooklyn band’s 2013 debut LP, The Ways We Separate. Even as Gossett triggered skittery drum sounds with a drumstick, Beacon kept it nice and low-key. On the house-y “Preserve” and vaguely dancehall-sounding “L1” — both from Escapements — the group showed how far they’ve come since forming at Pratt Institute and releasing the drowsy art-school-R&B EP No Body in 2011.

Closer “Feeling’s Gone” built from spacious electro-pop sketch to pensive dance track. It’s a song about two lovers trying to recapture feelings they’ve lost. “But if you stay the night,” Mullarney sings, “we can find some more.” It doesn’t matter how the story ends. It’s the effort that counts.


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