All photos by Joy Asico (firstname.lastname@example.org / www.asicophoto.com)
Local favorites Yeasayer arrived in town for two sold out shows last week at the 9:30 Club, trucking in enough laser beams and mirrors to ensure everyone will be seeing spots until around 2016. When the black curtain hiding the stage setup finally dropped on both nights, what ensued was a fuzzy, blinding mash-up of 80s-laced dance music and old school Baltimore charm, performed on a stage that married the shiniest visuals from Battlestar Galactica and Tron. The band had obviously planned for those in the audience who’d bought tickets to both shows, by switching up the set lists for each night, and the end results were two distinct but equally dazzling concerts.
While the majority of electronically-based bands incorporate exponentially increasing loops and pre-recorded samples into their live shows, Yeasayer gives a big nod to the basics of making great live music by peeling away several of the overly-manipulated layers from the recorded versions of their tracks. Then, using actual vocals, a guitarist, a kick-ass drummer, and a real-for-real bass guitar -- and when was the last time you saw a bass guitar at a dance concert -- the band delivered their material live in a surprisingly organic manner. Or as organic as you can get while your corneas are being singed by a light show visible from Jupiter. Rather than route the electronic portions of a track through keyboards, lead singers Chris Keating and Anand Wilder used giant computer boxes to fill out the songs. This allowed Keating to merely punch a button to summon a synth-line, and left him free to dance around the stage engaging the crowd, which was an effective to pull the crowd into the show and was insanely charming at the same time.