Friday, June 17, 2011

Yeasayer (More Like Yeah!! Sayer)

Last night, I again found myself completely blown away by a show at the 9:30 Club. Seriously. While I missed the first of two opening bands - Hush-Hush - I hear it was not all that much to miss (unless you like a lone nerd standing at a computer making digital music about eating pussy).

That's not to say I don't enjoy a good friendly jab at the expense of the fairer sex, as proven by the second opening band, Smith Westerns. These Chicago natives came on right at 9pm, and played a full and fun set. The lead singer, Cullen Omori, looks like he could be Julian Casablancas' younger brother (or evil twin). Young and thin with long, black locks and a shit-kicker attitude, this kid can sing, and his band is obviously down to have a good time (though most of them are underage). They sound something like a mix between early David Bowie (without the flair) and some of the newer surfer rock bands we've been hearing lately (i.e. Cults, Best Coast, The Donkeys). They have a good following mostly due to opening for the likes of Passion Pit and MGMT, and will likely find themselves doing well if they can improve their flow and sing about something other than girls.

I will make note of this favorite moment of the set. Cullen leaned into the microphone and said, "Ok, this one goes out to all the sluts out there!" Too bad for him, marked nonchalance is a game killer for the girls of that ilk, and I doubt any of them got laid (the band or the sluts). Well, except maybe the girl who agreed to make out with her boyfriend at the bar even though he was so drunk he was actually making out with her chin. Get a room!

Anyway, moving on from the children, let's talk about Yeasayer. Holy shit this band is incredible.

The core band, as they are frequently called, consists of vocalist/pianist/music maker Chris Keating, bassist/vocalist Ira Wolf Tuton and guitarist/pianist/vocalist Anand Wilder. These Brooklyn folk are an unbelievably tight band, who can not only belt out tunes so heartfelt you could cry, but also so fun that you really want to dance. And I don't dance in public very often. Seeing this band perform reminded me of a line I read in a review on We Love DC regarding the Beirut show.

Columnist Brittany wrote,

"As much fun as it is to see a great band that just learned to play their instruments play like they are flinging every last bit of themselves out onto the floor, it is a pleasant contrast to see a band like Beirut who take a more elegant, measured approach while still seeming engaged and with great presence on stage."

The same can most definitely be said about Yeasayer. Their calculated approach to making amazing music is greatly appreciated and refreshing. So much in fact, that when I emerged form the show and found myself caught in a serious down pour, I hopped right on my bike and pedaled home in the rain laughing and smiling (I may or may not have hollered a bit too).

Yeasayer played everything I wanted to hear, and threw in some new tunes that seem to be a little less Electronica heavy, and a lot more Pop (in a good way). Hits off All Hour Cymbals like "2080" and "Sunrise" were absolute crowd-pleasers, though my favorite was the closer "Ambling Amps". Hearing the live versions of songs off Odd Blood such as "Madder Red" were well received and helped solidify the rather mixed audience of old and new fans. My friend R.J. took one look around from our perch on the top level of the 9:30 Club and determined that Yeasayer draws a hot crowd. It helps that Chris Keating is really cute too.

Now that I've seen them live, I must admit I can't stop listening to them today, and if given the chance, I would really like to see them again. Maybe next time I can catch them on their home turf of Brooklyn. I bet it brings out the best in them all.  

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