with Washed Out
Firestone Live, Orlando, FL • 10/07/2010
To say that Yeasayer put on a great show at the Firestone Live the other night would be an understatement. But superlatives lack the power to describe the energy and joy behind the performance.
The crowd cheered as the band members walked onto the smoke-filled stage with its huge plastic fantastic op art sculpture from the 1960s as a back drop. Heavy propulsive beats pumped out of the speakers and took over the speakers. The band’s core members — Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, and Anand Wilder — each took their positions next to a glowing pedestal, the top of which served as a keyboard stand.
Keating came out holding a weird-looking monster head (Grizelda, perhaps), which sat on one of the smaller, amoebic plastic sculptures, behind which the percussionists did their thing.
Poor Washed Out, the opening act. They were stuck at the very edge of the cramped stage during their entire set, but they managed to bring it to the audience with their synth and bass-driven music before giving way to Yeasayer.
And Yeasayer rocked the house with their percussion-driven, psychedelic, electronic music. Their harmonies were tight and mesmerizing, their arrangements mind-boggling as they worked through their playlist, toggling back and forth between the more tribal, world beat sounds from their debut album, All Hour Cymbals, to the more cheerfully goofy pop-and-synth ’80s sounds of their latest album ODD BLOOD.
The crowd ate it up, dancing along with Keating’s spastic David Byrne-like lurchings and hooting to upbeat numbers like “Mondegreen,” then standing mesmerized during the trippier and more ambient musical interludes.
They rocked out on “O.N.E” and did a pretty “I Remember.” Keating was intense, screaming at times with agony, hiccuping with joy at other moments.
Despite the muddy mix that made the lyrics indecipherable sometimes, the crowd cheered and sang along right up to the life-affirming sing-along chorus of “Ambling Alp,” the last number before their encore.
The band returned to the stage for a rousing, soul-stirring version of “2080” before bidding good night. Leaving the Firestone, one enthusiastic fan summed it up for all: “Holy Fucking Shit! That was awesome.”