Yeasayer | 06.27.13

live yeasayerYeasayer’s stage presence was elegant and masterful, as they sipped wine rather than booze.

 

 

 

Firebird, St. Louis

Yeasayer and I have our differences. When Odd Blood was released in 2010, it was one of the best albums of the year, easily earning a 10/10 from me. It was retro enough to conjure lost emotions, yet progressive enough to make those nostalgic feelings relevant and long lasting. The music video for “O.N.E.” looks like an updated version of a scene from Liquid Sky. Odd Blood was not your typical ’80s nostalgia; 2012’s Fragrant World felt bare and stripped in comparison. Everything was soft and easygoing; the jagged corners found in songs such as “Mondegreen” and “Rome” had been dulled; and the eccentricity of songs like “The Children” and “Strange Reunions” was aborted, leaving us with songs along the lines of “Damaged Goods” and “Longevity.”

To state the obvious, for me Fragrant World was a disappointing follow up to Odd Blood. However, seeing these songs (that I believed were lifeless) played live totally changed the way I perceived the 2012 follow up. Longevity pulsated along to the dramatic fiddle providing an eerie yet danceable effect for the audience. Songs that I thought were too dry, such as “Blue Paper” and “Folk Hero Shtick,” were suddenly brimming with emotion and confidence. The crowd reaction when they began many of their newer songs was far more excited than I’d expected, leading me to believe that I may be alone in my opinions of Fragrant World. Regardless, I have a much more clear and established view of the album after this concert.

From Odd Blood, Yeasayer played their two classics, “O.N.E.” and “Ambling Alp,” as well as “Madder Red.” Thankfully, unlike some bands, they had no remorse for the fact that “Ambling Alp” will probably always be their most famous song. They played it as wildly and energetic as the new material, and the crowd couldn’t get enough. They also played a couple of “covers,” as one severely drunk fan put it. She told them that they forgot a verse and that they were covering songs by other bands. At first, they seemed legitimately interested in figuring out what she was talking about, but once they realized she was telling them they were doing their job wrong, they proceeded to tease her over it, saying things like, “Our next song is a cover of a cover of a song we wrote by someone else.”

Yeasayer’s stage presence was elegant and masterful, as they sipped wine rather than booze. While the distinction between performer and spectator was clear, I could feel a genuine connection with the band. Whenever one member would step to the edge of the stage, his performance was not show-offish or gaudy, but simply an invitation to experience the music with the band. The banter between songs was quite entertaining toward the end of the show, as we were given a description of what was going on in The Warriors, which was playing above the bar. Yeasayer must be big fans.

The sold-out show went off without a hitch, and now we are all back to waiting for their return. | Brian Cheli

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