Yeasayer, House of Blues, New Orleans, LA – 10/9
Photo by Joshua Brasted
To cap off an excellent week of music starting with Dr. John on Wednesday down at Lafayette Square, psychedelic beatsmiths Yeasayer finally blew through the Big Easy for a debut appearance (lead singer Chris Keating remarked twice on the beauty of the city), making an immense impression on the packed and white hot House of Blues crowd with a concise and swirling array of selections from their excellent and growing catalogue. Adventurous music calls for adventurous fans, and the youthful, energetic crowd and band fueled each other, making this night a two-way affair. The alien game show visual display complemented the bizarre, yet pop sensible psychedelia beaming from the stage, accented by a honey-combed backdrop and glowing neon platforms for the band’s various electronics.
Charismatic frontman Chris Keating brought the extraterrestrial amorphous pet from the band’s new music video to perch on a speaker and from the first notes, the quintet immediately had the raucous Saturday night crowd locked into a celestial trance. A blistering pace was set with “Madder Red” to open, the groovy and retooled “Wait for the Summer” and hypertempo’d “Rome”. The buoyant All Hour Cymbals deep track “Red Cave” was an excellent surprise, working well in the live setting. Hell-bent on sonic experimentation, songs like the mega-percussive “Sunrise” continue to evolve and this rendition highlighted an exceptional and memorable first performance in New Orleans. Ira Wolf Tuton’s flutish bass intro signified “Ambling Alp” as the closer, and also the night’s foremost singalong.
The encore reflected the two sides of Yeasayer. First, it was the twisted, Halloween-ish Odd Blood opener “The Children,” full of sub bass and spooky keyboards. The monstrous, distorted vocals and heavy low end created a rare, disquieted air. Alas, after the rubble cleared at the stroke of midnight on 10/10/2010, otherworldly beats entwined with Keating’s hi-pitched vocals on the anthemic “2080”, putting a stamp on a brilliant display. The intense touring schedule in 2010 has seasoned the young Brooklynites well, as these guys appear to be consummate professionals after delivering a peerless 70-minute performance that had fans begging for more (hopefully the shows will get longer). The future is here, and it’s bright.