Say Yea for Yeasayer

WRITTEN BY
Jeffrey Parker

U Street denizens (and a few of their parents who had probablyheard about the band on NPR) waited in vain in the biting cold lastnight (Jan. 16) with hopes of scoring tickets to see Yeasayer,currently touring with MGMT,play a sold-out show at the tiny backstage of Black Cat. And if the keyto rock'n'roll music is the honest interaction between artist andaudience, then this show could have done no better for the lucky fewwho made it in.

With dead flowers adorning the overheadlights, the scenester crowd swelled against the barely-there stagewhile Chris Keating crouched and jittered like a human Richter scale asif he was actually attached to the electronics on-stage. The livewirefrontman was only the most obvious manifestation of how plugged in tothe music the Brooklyn-based outfit was, though. The entire band becameone beautifully unhinged rhythm section, flailing about as physicalreflections of their frenetic sounds found on their debut LP, All Hour Cymbals.With tunes like eerie vocal wonder "No Need to Worry" and monstersingle "2080" not-so-lightly surveying some future apocalypses(personal and universal), the beat backed something foreboding. Rhythmand blues in its most cosmic sense -- this was maximum R&B. Whoknew the universe teetering on the edge of oblivion could sound thisfun?

We asked:Yeasayer has gotten a lot of attention for drawing from African andreligious music traditions. What other neglected musical genres wouldyou like to see bands begin to incorporate in to their music?

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