I can’t freakin' wait until Yeasayer come back to Los Angeles. I feel itchy knowing that last Friday's show at the Ukranian Culture Center on Melrose was their only L.A. engagement.
Yeasayer is one band that requires you to hold your impressions until you’ve seen their live performance. As interesting as the single “2080” is for the dooming lyrics and the ethereal use of chant-like synthesized vocals, it can seem a little Ren-fair. And that’s totally why many people like it; it’s the Peter-Gabriel-trying-to-perform-like-David-Byrne throwback. Also, during the song “Sunrise,” I just can’t stop thinking of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” The music could easily slip into the realm of, well, dorky. Compared to their oft-likened kindred spirits TV On The Radio, “Final Path” makes Yeasayer seem like TVOTR’s extremely smart, pimply, Magic: The Gathering little cousin.
But Yeasayer were crowned Ukranian Kings Friday night in that crazy (and really cool) hall, for two reasons. 1) the keyboardist and lead singer, Chris Keating, is a gifted performer, and confident as hell. His face and body contort under the dense pressure of their music and lyrics, almost to the point where he looks pained. It’s hypnotizing. If he hadn't been as entrancing, the live show would've been completely different. And 2) I haven’t seen such an stupendous light display feat since I was 12 years old and went to the observatory to watch the Pink Floyd laserium show. Straight out of Big Brother and the Holding Company. When I saw A Place to Bury Strangers powering through their “Ocean” finale a few months ago, I didn’t want to bob my head or blink because I was afraid of missing something. During Yeasayer, I may as well have been dipped in carbon freeze.
Yeasayer. Go see them. Go to the ends of the earth if you need to. Their music would be perfect along the way.
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Groovy. Photos by Rena Kosnett