Reviews > Shows
Yeasayer, Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON – 5/1/10
Photo by Charley Binder
The members of Brooklyn-based experimental rock outfit Yeasayer credit a group acid trip with the inspiration for their explosive sophomore album, Odd Blood. Combining elements of 80’s pop music and dancehall beats with their already expansive pallet, 2010’s most blogged-about barnstormers have rightfully been on a tear of late. The record – at once a mind-bending, impetuous, and ecstatically cathartic document – comes to life when performed in the flesh, and there would be no dashing the high hopes of a sell-out Canadian crowd.
The band eased into its set with ‘The Children’, the bizarre opening track from Odd Blood. ‘Strange Reunions’ followed, reminiscent of George Harrison’s Eastern-tinged material with a hint of jaded modernism. ‘Rome’ kicked the show into high gear with its dancey attack and the spastic presence of frontman Chris Keating, who then serenaded the room with the new-age ballad ‘I Remember’. ‘Wait For The Summer’, an offering from 2007’s All Hour Cymbals, was met with thankful recognition before ‘2080’ provided the first watershed moment of the set. Keating led the audience through the rapid-fire choruses as the dreamy number solicited deafening applause at its conclusion.
Building on this momentum, Ira Wolf Tuton ushered in the pulsating rhythm of ‘Love Me Girl’ with deliciously effected falsetto bursts. Holding down the low end on bass and backing nearly every song with precise vocal arrangements, Tuton would be the MVP if it weren’t for co-lead singer Anand Wilder. The multi-instrumentalist enjoyed his big moment during ‘O.N.E.’, arguably _Odd
Blood’s_ finest selection. With his soothing voice filling the room, Wilder cooed the song’s refrain –
“hold me like before, hold me like you used to” – and people seemed only too eager to oblige.
After Keating professed his affinity for Toronto and its diverse selection of beautiful women, the set concluded with the one-two punch of ‘Madder Red’ and the uplifting single ‘Ambling Alp’. The former easily eclipsed its recorded rendition, as many fans sang along with the quirky near-yodel of the melodic hook. The latter, a clear harbinger of the group’s crossover potential, saw Keating strut his stuff at the lip of the stage as the perspiring cluster on the floor continued to scream along with devoted abandon.
Considering that Yeasayer just dazzled a massive audience at Coachella, and that the Lee’s Palace show sold out so quickly that even the band’s label was scrambling to acquire tickets, it is unlikely that small rock clubs will suffice the next time they hit the road. As concert-goers poured on to the street in front of the venue, few unimpressed faces could be spotted. For all their current hype, the boys of Yeasayer have made good in the most important area – live performance. One can only wonder where the third record will take them, as their trip is plainly far from over.
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