Last Night: Yeasayer at the Granada Theater

Yeasayer, Javelin
Granada Theater
April 8, 2010

Better than: Staying home and doing laundry, that's for sure.

"Anybody got an extra ticket?!" one Yeasayer fan yelled frantically over a sea of others congregating outside the Granada Theater Thursday night.

At 9 o'clock, a lengthy line was wrapped around the edge of the Granada. The line consisted of those with tickets, those on the list, and those hoping to score a ticket--or two--for the sold-out Yeasayer show.

And even with so many people still outside, the Granada Theater was packed for opening act, Javelin, also from Brooklyn. The crowd seemed to enjoy the set and was nonetheless intrigued by the two-man-band's eclectic, yet catchy sound. Once its set was over, frontman Tom van Buskirk gave a shout-out to the headlining act, and at the mere mention of Brooklyn's avant-pop act Yeasayer, the sold-out, packed Granada Theater erupted.

The three-piece band (five-piece for the tour, as the band has added two percussionists to the lineup) casually emerged on stage, silhouetted in front of four large, green, throbbing rectangular panels of light.

With a few strums on the guitar, and taps on the drums, Yeasayer worked it's way into the first song of the night, "The Children" (which is also the first song off the band's latest album Odd Blood). While the song itself didn't translate quite the same into its live version, the crowd remained engaged all the same, and, once it was over, the entire place burst out in applause.

The band then moved onto "Rome" in which frontman Chris Keating energetically spat out the words but without much movement--a casual flail or kick or hand gesture here and there, but nothing too extreme. By this point, the once green panels had changed colors and continued to do so throughout the show. The room was infused with florescent colors all through the band's set. 

Thankfully, Yeasayer didn't wait long before dipping into material from it's debut album, All Hour Cymbals. Three songs in, the band dove into "Wait For The Summer." It wasn't quite as tribal or organic as it sounds on All Hour Cymbals, but the crowd didn't seem to notice. And, if it had, it sure as heck didn't seem to mind.

Once "Wait For The Summer" ended, Keating fulfilled his front-man duties by engaging in a little conversation with the crowd, even complementing the Granada Theater on its beauty:

"This is a beautiful place," he shouted over a delighted crowd. "I love this theater."

As the night forwarded on, the band continued to play a dominantly Odd Blood set, but snuck in a few older tunes. But the old songs didn't come without alteration.

There was a tropical version of "Tightrope", complete with maracas and salsa whistle effects, and the band even played a funkier version of "2080", with more rockstar-esque vocals.

And Yeasayer continued powering through its set, with songs like "ONE", "Modegreen" and "Love Me Girl" (to which people were grinding, even). In fact, there were points in the night, with eyes closed, one might think there was a DJ on stage rather than a band.

The band then said its goodbyes and ended its set with "Ambling Alp", the first single off Odd Blood. Few in the crowd left, though, and those who stayed were rewarded: The band came back out to perform a two-song encore. First came "Madder Red" and then, finally, the band ended with its opus of sorts, "Sunrise".

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
While it has clearly been working for the band (take last night's sold out show for example), Odd Blood was a very, very disappointing album for me.

Random Note: I still can't get over the fact that people were grinding to Yeasayer. I mean, Seriously? grinding? To Yeasayer? Oy.

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