Review: Yeasayer Live 10.02.11

FEBRUARY 13, 2011

I arrive at Billboards at 7pm. An unusually early gig. It shows. The venue, which Yeasayer will go on to describe it as the aptly named ‘Star Trek Bar’, wasn’t even a third full. The sun was still out when Sydney band Ghoul began their support set. For those who weren’t there, you missed out. If I was a good writer I could maybe do justice to describing their sound, but it’s something you have to witness for yourself. They’re likened to Dirty Projectors or Radiohead, but when lead singer’s Ivan Vizintin belted out his crooning voice to melodic synth sounds and indie-pop beats there were no comparison. I was hypnotised. Suddenly it stopped. I wanted more, but unfortunately their set was short. Ghoul had belted out every tune with a chaotic passion that you rarely see from a support band. Do yourself a favour and grab their new mini album ‘Dunks’ from iTunes and see them live. You can thank me later.

I assumed the sun was just setting because the venue started to fill. Soon the crowd chit chat went to a roar as the lights went down. As soon as Yeasayer emerged on stage, I knew it was going to be a party. Yeasayer member Ahmed Gallab started pouring drinks for those squeezed up at the front of the barricades. Great courtesy from the Brooklyn based rockers. But Yeasayer don’t need to bribe their fans to be there. For the next hour they showed us why they are so loved.

Yeasayer describe their music as ‘Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel’. I think they were spot on. I had heard their album and I was concerned how they were going to pull off such a multi-layered sound live on stage. They did not disappoint. With a five-piece band they seamlessly produced their psychedelic, experimental rock songs on stage with so much enthusiasm. The crowd reciprocated, they were a constant wave of hands and moving bodies bouncing and swaying to Yeasayer’s beats.

So my interpretation. My review of their set. If you’re reading this you know Yeasayer’s sound. Here’s the positives: there’s no question they can reproduce this live and no question of their energetic performances on stage. The crowd
loved every minute of their set. The negatives: the flow of their set was inconsistent. The opening tracks were slow and brooding and didn’t match the party Yeasayer had bought the drinks for. Things kicked into gear soon after with their current singles Madder Red, O.N.E. and Ampling Alp driving the crowd into a frenzy throughout the set. But when Yeasayer came out to a roaring crowd for their encore they didn’t have an answer for the partygoers. The energy fizzled out in the crowd and the band. It all finished up by 9:30pm and no one wanted to continue the party anymore. So home I went.

Ghoul – 3 Mark (192)

Yeasayer – O.N.E (Fromagedisco Tribal Gathering Remix) (320)

All photographs taken by Simon Howe
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