YEAsayer! I was bursting at the seams, people. Although the dark cloud of apprehension had slightly marred my optimism re: the band’s performance at this gig (another reviewer had slandered their Laneway performance, and some clips on YouTube didn’t settle my suspicions either), I soldiered on, content that I was seeing one of my favourite bands tonight, and that I would enjoy it. You know, if they’re not as good as I think they’ll be, so what? No need to hara-kiri all over the shop. One step at a time, Lisa.
As if sensing my presence (totally), the band opens with my favourite song, and the one that impregnated my Yeasayer obsession, Tightrope. As the opening lyrics ring out (“So you’re wishing that you never did all the embarrassing things you’d done/ And you’re wishing you could set it right/ And you’re wishing you could stay the night”), a gross realization comes to head: singer Chris Keating’s voice will disappoint me tonight. Look, I’m not one of those peeps that needs it exactly like the records, alright? I just love things for a reason, and if it don’t stand up, I’m sad in the dance pants. For Yeasayer first-timers tonight, it’s a lesson in record versus live, and whether the live Keating voice will ultimately fall short of the voice we love on the disc. It’s a tricky business tonight.
O.N.E follows, with guitarist/synth player Anand Wilder on vocals, whose voice is totes amazing tonight- I’m a bit in love with him, to be honest- and the distinctive Yeasayer sound (bleeps and bloops, water sounds, all kinds of aural shenanigans) sets the dancing feet aflame. Keating returns for Rome, confirming my qualms of a sub-par lead singer in the ranks. It becomes too difficult to reconcile my love for the band amongst the obvious startling realization (especially when it comes to various falsetto moments), and a part of me dies inside.
The eerie Indian sounds of Wait for the Summer lead into Mondegreen, the clappy, horns-laden jumper. Keating is clearly sweltering and possibly drunk, but we all get our dance on in his place, because- and you must agree- Mondegreen is one of Odd Blood’s best tracks. It’s a fact. The electronica outro segues into Madder Red (the one with all the “oohs”, for those playing at home) and elated single Ambling Alp ends (“ends”) the show. Hands fly through the air in the chorus (“Stick up for yourself, son/ Never mind what anyone else done”) and the sing-along voices threaten to topple Keating right off the stage.
The band ditch the encore fake-out (something I’ve been seeing a lot lately, thank the rock gods) and ‘come back’ with the psychedelic Strange Reunions and dark, amazing 2080. Post-gig beers indicate that the reviewer’s disappointment was heavily outweighed by a wave of band joy and genuine exhilaration. I even danced a little, and you know me: that’s a testament in itself.
– Lisa Dib