Why is Yeasayer setting up its equipment? Why was it so painfully simple to stroll right up to the front of the Aladdin's makeshift pit? Why is this hipster prick in front of me texting his girlfriend during the endless harmonies of “2080?”
Such are the questions that swam in my mind during the Brooklyn psych-electro outfit's rough but inspiring set Friday night. Chicago theater geeks Icy Demons kicked things off with a spooky, acid-jazz dance party. Like Yeasayer, the band was a little bit of everything, held up by the hyper bossa nova percussion that framed every song.
Despite a few electronic glitches (shadowed by a few uncomfortable stares that I was almost sure would lead to in-fighting), Yeasayer was a sound outfit. “Sunrise” stole the show, a song built lyrically and sonically on the restless might of youth; something Yeasayer, oddly enough, have a lot of, even in light of its elder statesmanship on stage.
Bassist Ira Wolf Tuton was up to his usual complicated bass lines, displaying the face of a dog in a pet shop during the less demanding numbers—but he was all focus and flawlessness during tracks like “2080.”
Hats off to drummer Luke Fasano, who beats on his equipment in a mystical, tom-tom heavy way that can be fairly compared to a certain side of Phil Collins. And also to guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Anand Wilder for his occasional bluesy aggression and timely finger picking. Coupled with many samples, ranging from bird song to choir oohs, Wilder brewed up a Middle Eastern sound that Yeasayer is beginning to embody.
I don't why the Aladdin was so vacant on Friday evening. Or why certain people choose distractions over one of the best bands of the year. Then again, I'm biased. But at least I'll be able to spew out the age-old, “While I saw them when, before an indifferent crowd before they were huge.”
Because Yeasayer will be big. That I do know.
Photos by Mark Stock