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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Yeasayer at Heaven, Feb 23rd – Live Review

Yeasayer bring the beats, hot and sweaty

Written by Emma Tucker

Illustration courtesy of Harry Williams

Yeasayer kicked off their show at the very hot and sweaty Heaven with ‘Odd Blood”s opener track “The Children”. This seemed like a bit of an odd choice to start with, considering that it’s the least poppy track of an album that’s an homage to beautifully executed pop. It also seemed like the audience were decidedly underwhelmed to begin with, and weren’t really sure what to do with a less well known song. In fact I’m sure half of them were there only for the purposes of hearing “Ambling Alp” and going home.

In a strange way the sinister distorted vocals of “The Children” set the scene for them to launch into the more upbeat songs from ‘Odd Blood’, and things only improved from there on out. Their set was heavily focused on newer songs, and high points of the night included “Strange Reunions”, “Mondegreen”, “Love Me Girl”, “Ambling Alp”, “I Remember” and “ONE”. By the time they had got to “ONE” the crowd seemed to know what was going on, and had generated some enthusiasm for them at last. To help matters, Yeasayer were accompanied on stage by some trippy flashing light-boxes, which resonated pretty much perfectly with their own somewhat trippy hippy sound.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Lipsitz

I was a little concerned, having listened to ‘Odd Blood’ so much, that the live vocals would be a let down. The singing on the album sounds, at times, as if it’s ventured into the dreaded realm of autotune. However what I discovered is that in amongst all the weird noises and bird calls, there are actually three very talented singers playing off each other. Keating, Tuton and Wilder are practically seamless in their live performance. All of them have a capacity to sing far above the pitch of most normal human men, but it works for them, and it’s actually pretty impressive to witness. Keating really stole the show though. He managed to maintain what might normally be a comical level of Bee Gee-esque crooning without his voice breaking, cracking or dropping notes. In addition to the man being an amazing singer, he was inventive with his voice, throwing in snarls, shouts, and all kinds of bizarre vocal noises which he still managed to blend into the song. Not only that but for a skinny white boy in a suit, he had some some serious rhythm, and could have definitely taught the lacklustre crowd how to throw a shape or two.

The sound of ‘Odd Blood’ was replicated in the best way possible. The tracks obviously didn’t sound identical to the album, and they weren’t always easy to identify at the start, but hearing it live made it far easier to appreciate each individual musician’s contribution. It’s fair to say that the few older songs Yeasayer played sounded smoother to the ear, especially when set aside ‘Odd Blood”s more choppy sound. They also seemed to generate more enthusiasm from the onlookers as well. When they came back for their encore and played Sunrise, it was probably the best song of the night. Although I love ‘Odd Blood”s pop credentials, Sunrise has a sound all unto itself.

The charm of Yeasayer is how many bits there are to it. They’re not content with the standard instruments, they have to throw in extra singers, extra sound effects, and bizarre noises that I don’t even know how to begin to identify. Having heard much of Odd Blood live, all I wanted to do was go home and listen to it again, and that to me seems like the best indication of a night well spent.

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