The much-peddled “you gotta see ‘em live to get it” line really carries very little weight – if you’re not into a band’s tunes, hearing them in a room that’s colder and more stale-smelling than your own is hardly going to change your mind. With Yeasayer though, few sane minds need convincing that their world music/disco-percussive jams are as funky, emotive, inventive and well thought out as anything that’s spilled from Brooklyn since TV on The Radio. “Getting” Yeasayer isn’t an issue, but when seen live you really get them. Keen to boast their new party record, ‘Odd Blood’, just three ‘All Hour Cymbal’ highlights get an airing tonight, two of which, sounding all hippy and loose, come in the encore. Up until then the band come across particularly spiritual and life affirming (seriously) just the once as ‘Madder Red’ pitches up with a chorus to dwarf that of Toto’s ‘Africa’. It’s jaw-droppingly uplifting (yes, seriously!) and sad as it soars away from the opening ‘The Children’ that Chris Keating has recently croaked out through the voice box of a twenty-a-day robotic toad. After that Yeasayer bring a more commercial, no-less impressive dance party to Heaven, toying with intros and electro loops as they go – ‘Mondergreen’ more raggaeton and smooth; ‘I Remember’ void of the crumbling Atari computer sounds. And whether snappy or spiritual, Yeasayer lob a fair ‘ol weight at that useless “see ‘em live” notion.
By Stuart Stubbs
Originally published in issue 15 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2010