Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Play "Final" Show

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels
WRITTEN BY
John Macdonald

If their show Friday night at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music was their last one ever -- as rampant internet speculation would have it -- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah certainly gave no indication the end was near.

Their set had swagger and verve, swinging confidently between their beloved early hits and a handful of epic, guitar-centric new tunes. Lead-singer Alec Ounsworth didn't mention a word of any impending break-up. If you hadn't read the rumors online, you'd have no idea.

And yet, the rumors appear to be true -- more or less. Late last month, the band's management told NME that Clap Your Hands had abandoned plans to head into the studio and decided to take a long break after Friday night's show, though they refuted suggestions the boys were calling it quits. All those Internet rumormongers are "probably reading too much into things," Nick Stern said.

At the very least, Clap Your Hand's BAM performance was their last in a while -- all the more reason to to leave the crowd impressed.

Playing to a mostly seated audience at the Academy's gorgeous 2,100-capacity Howard Gilman Opera House, Clap Your Hands played a youthful and exceptionally confident set; it was more like a party than a farewell. "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth," "Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away," and "Is This Love?" lost none of the quirky, ragged charm that made the the band the toast of the blogosphere in 2005. If the hipsters dancing in the orchestra pit were any indication, the audience was thankful for a bit of pre-recession nostalgia.

Aside from a handful of selections from 2007's Some Loud Thunder -- including a jubilant "Satan Said Dance," which had the stage bathed in a fiery red light -- Ounsworth introduced six new songs (a lot for a band on its deathbed). Like their more melancholy (and inconsistent) sophomore effort, the newer material explored slower tempos, though with a renewed focus on Robbie Guertin and Lee Sargent's guitars. "Statues" floated on chiming leads reminiscent of Johnny Marr, while "Heroes" featured Guertin's expert slide guitar.

If CYHSY addressed their hiatus at all Friday night, they did so only through Ounsworth's cryptic new lyrics. "I think I'm on vacation / the waves crash in the distance," he sang in his trademark nasal howl during the Dylan-esque "Man at the Bar." Let's hope they get back to work soon.

Setlist:
"Adam's Plane" (new song)
"Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away"
"Satan Said Dance"
"Statues" (new song)
"Details of the War"
"In this Home on Ice"
"Man at the Bar" (new song)
"Yankee Go Home"
"Is this Love?"
"Trotsky's Fence" (new song)
"Some Loud Thunder"
"The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth"
"Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)"
"Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?"
"Upon the Tidal Wave of Young Blood"

Encore:
"Heroes" (new song)
"Goodbye to Mother and the Cove"
"Clap Your Hands!"
Untitled new song
"Heavy Metal"

Click here for more photos from last night!

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Photo by Eric Nowels

Chairlift / Photo by Eric Nowels

Chairlift / Photo by Eric Nowels

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