Wednesday 21 August 2019

On Stage: Yeasayer @ Paradiso

There was a time when Yeasayer were the hippest band on the block, selling out all clubs and wanted by every festival around. They were guaranteed to draw big crowds to their performances, driven by the success of their first two albums. The experimental band from Brooklyn didn't compromise however, refusing to milk that success. Critics and the main stream music world seem to have lost interest and the band is starting to fly under the radar. Their new release Erotic Returns made me curious enough to go check them out again.

Yeasayer at Paradiso Amsterdam, August 19 2019

Playing a club show in the middle of the summer is not really a good for ticket sales. This is the off season for these kind of shows and most bands are earning their money at the summer festivals. Yeasayer did play a few festivals and maybe they just squeezed in the Amsterdam show. They do mention they think it is the best city in the world. I'm not the one to disagree here and it may just be the reason they are playing a more than half empty main hall tonight. This doesn't get the band down in any way though and the foursome are in great spirits.

The core members of the band are keyboard player Chris Keating, guitarist Anand Wilder and bassist Ira Wolf Tuton, while adding other musicians to their live band. I really love the sound of this band, the warm melodies with eastern influences and the great vocals and harmonies. Keating and Wilder are sharing lead vocals, which is pretty rare to have two of those amazing voices. Tuton adds lovely backing vocals and harmonies, possessing a clear falsetto. Live it all sounds just as good, with a well balanced sound mix where you can hear all the details.

Of course the group has a couple of giant hits like '2080' and 'O.N.E' that are incredibly catchy and can make even the biggest stiff move his body. But the band is so much more than that, exploring many musical directions, often not choosing the easy road. The new songs have a great pop sound and sometimes the band even rocks out quite hard. On a song like '24 Hateful Live!' I can't help but hearing distant echoes from Duran Duran. The band is not shying away from some political criticism either, although tonight they will only shortly give their view on their president.

Mostly the band is simply playing their songs in a tight show without many breaks in between them. This is working very well, creating a nice summery atmosphere where most people are moving to the lovely tunes. It does turn into a short night though, since after a three song encore the show is over, lasting not even 75 minutes. Still the band played a 15 song set, which is not bad at all. It is the same set they played at some of the festivals, where the band has to stick to 60 to 75 minutes slots. They definitely are able to fill those slots efficiently. Hopefully it reminds many people of what an amazing band this is, with a unique sound that should be able to please so many. Maybe the band is fine with their current status, but I think they deserve a lot more exposure and I hope the music world won't start to forget about them. I sure won't.

All Pictures

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01. Madder Red
02. Henrietta
03. Ohm Death
04. 2080
05. 24-Hour Hateful Live!
06. Let Me Listen In on You
07. Tightrope
08. Sunrise
09. People I Loved
10. Fluttering in the Floodlights
11. O.N.E.
12. Ecstatic Baby
13. I'll Kiss You Tonight
14. Blue Skies Dandelions
15. Ambling Alp

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