In concert: Yeasayer at 9:30 club
By Patrick Foster
Forget that Yeasayer was ever a blogger-buzz band from Brooklyn with a world-music-flecked, organic debut album. The trio is on the rock-star trail now, brewing up synth-laden pop hooks and strutting around like it's 1983. During peak moments of the sold-out kickoff of its U.S. tour Saturday night at the 9:30 club, the band's mix of Human League-esque synthesizers, pulsating lightbox backdrop, three-man vocals and bubbling percussion was transporting. Thing is, there were only about three of those moments.
(Singing along and staring at phones, plus more pictures after the jump.)
Yeasayer is following the same blogs-to-riches route as its Brooklyn brethren MGMT, the chief difference between the two being that Yeasayer actually has some talent. That was evident in songs like "Rome," whose verses rumbled like a swell update of Adam Ant. Or the plaintive "I Remember," a clever "new romantic" pastiche. Singer Chris Keating was the center point, but it was when guitarist Anand Wilder and bassist Ira Wolf Tuton threw their voices into the pot that those songs really surged.
Way too much of the hour-plus set, however, was filled with dreck like "Love Me Girl" and "Mondegreen," lyrically stilted, formulaic and overcompensated-for rhythmically (the band was aided by two percussionists). Watching the crowd - indie-rock fans and 20-somethings born too late for the Culture Club-era - made it clear: People sang along and swayed during a couple of songs, then stared into their phones (especially during the band's occasional nods to its debut), kinda waiting around.
Waiting for "Ambling Alp," it turned out, a burbling, joyous romp whose chorus - "Speak up for yourself, son!" - has the potential to make it the summer's most overplayed jam. And it just might explain Yeasayer, too: opportunists digging through the pop music attic looking for stuff that makes them look like stars. Harmless, as long as they stay away from that box marked "Thompson Twins."
April 5, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: In concert | Tags: Yeasayer
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