don't you tell me how i feel.

oh yea by v
August 20, 2012, 10:01 am
Filed under: Shit I Like, Shows

I generally try not be miffed when bands don’t play the one song I want to hear live. But the near-complete lack of All Hour Cymbals material at Yeasayer’s Music Hall of Williamsburg show last week just about broke my heart.

Of course, I recognize that they have a new album — the weakly named but laudable Fragrant World — to promote. And the songs, which I’d previewed via NPR’s album stream before the show, sounded great live. The drum situation, however, left something to be desired: One of Yeasayer’s strengths is easily their percussion, which is varied enough to warrant dual drummers when on tour (at least this was true when I saw them previously). For this particular show, they employed Cale Parks, a Brooklyn musician of Aloha/Brahms fame, to man their stand-up drum kit solo — meaning that much of it was still preprogrammed. Letdown!

The other weirdness of note was the extremely public nature of this particular performance. The show was being livestreamed on YouTube, which meant that men with giant cameras were stationed throughout the venue — including one right next to my head. Observe:

As a result, much of my show experience involved craning my neck to one side or the other to see around the camera, or ducking to narrowly avoid getting clocked in the face whenever he panned. There was also the added fun of knowing that the surly looks I was shooting the cameraman were possibly appearing on peoples’ computer screens all over the world. Oh, internet.

So to recap: at left, camera. At right, a boisterous British gentleman who wore dark sunglasses and danced aggressively for the duration. This did not escape the band’s notice. During their final song, “Ambling Alp,” frontman Chris Keating jumped into the audience and yanked the sunglasses off British Dude’s face, like so:

The encore included two new songs sandwiching the spare “Tightrope.” But goddammit, no “Wait for the Summer?” No “Sunrise?” I was floored.

All show angst aside, the new album is worth a listen — definitely a more cohesive step up from 2010’s somewhat scattered Odd Blood.


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