YACHT has always been one to poke fun at society in some way. In 2010, they published a book called The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights: A Handbook on Overcoming Humanity and Becoming Your Own God. With their previous album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, they only allowed the video for “L.A. Plays Itself” to be viewed when Uber prices were surging in their hometown of Los Angeles. More controversially, they ‘announced’ a leaked sex tape that eventually turned out to just be a music video for “I Wanna Fuck You Til I’m Dead.” (To be clear, there was no human nudity - but a whole lot of strange, slimy alien skin was present.) Their latest EP Strawberry Moon again prods at society with their music (one questioning why we eat animals) and videos (satirizing lifestyle brands and those that love to Instagram their meals), but it’s the live experience where YACHT really shines.
The trio of founding member Jona Bechtolt, singer Claire Evans, and touring band member Rob Kieswetter commanded the crowd from the get-go. Evans’s frantic and frenzied dance moves and over-the-top vocals on “Shame” were a textbook example of YACHT’s draw as a live show as she exclaimed “We can't take you anywhere!” with knowingly overdramatic inflection. Her on-stage presence could easily draw comparisons with other stand-out artists like Yelle, Grimes, and even Prince. The heavy pulsating bass and synths helped drive the second half of the set with danceable songs like “Second Summer” and “Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire).” There was enough friendly banter to go around, including a brief moment where Evans took questions from the crowd (“Are you a professional mime?”) and a celebration of the fact that everyone was having a great time as the clock hit midnight, signaling the start of the first US government shutdown since 2013. World events notwithstanding, it was easy to forget the troubles of the outside world with a show as compelling and fun as YACHT.
Opening for YACHT was local synth-pop group Loi Loi, a fixture in the local music scene who recently upgraded their live show by adding guitars from Pedram Rahmatabadi and bass from Tyler Cole. The music is as danceable and frenetic as ever (singer Kristie Di Lascio’s dance moves gave YACHT’s Claire Evans a run for her money), but the addition of Rahmatabadi’s loud and fast guitar riffs add a new layer of fun into the mix. Their latest release is the 2017 album Viva La Vulva through BLIGHT. Records.