The world was against me Thursday evening. I was roaming around Hudson River Park, looking and listening out for the free Yeasayer show at Pier 54, but I heard nothing. I saw no ironic outfits, only young ones playing catch and a three on three game I was ready to call “downs” on. Earlier today, Madalyn mentioned there was a thunderstorm warning. The clouds above were darker than the bottom of a well. This review, well, it almost never happened.
After some detective work on my new gadget phone, I deduced that I was actually thirty blocks away from where I needed to be. I cursed myself for being overly confident with my bearings (having only been in the city for about a month) and dashed towards the nearest train station. I made it just in time to walk by a girl dressed for an 80’s prom being written up by cops for having a pipe. It was one of those wooden dugouts with the sliding top. She was in tears and the only line I overheard was a sobbing, “Paraphernalia is illegal?” I chortled and took the sequined dress as a sign that I was close.
The world was back on my side. When I arrived at the pier, it was easy to mosey up to the front of the stage. I was amused by six girls in a braiding circle, twining different colored threads together to pass the time. It reminded me of that episode of Saved By The Bell, where the gang starts up a business of crafting friendship bracelets. A horrible band called Amazing Baby went on, but a kid plowing his way through the crowd made it worthwhile. Onlookers stood still in disgust of bad music, and there was this guy jumping on backs and throwing elbows. Everyone was too passive to do anything, and even I just danced mockingly beside him. Security, however, was kind enough to jump the guardrails and escort the mosher out.
When Brooklyn’s Yeasayer finally came on, they jumped into “Wait For The Summer,” which originally started out as an instrumental for a New York fashion show, but has since evolved into a solid live knee slapper. Luke Fasano banged on sleigh bells as if he were performing a rain dance, and lead singer Chris Keating shuffled up a storm, looking like Beck for a new generation. Ira Wolf Tuton sported a broken pinky and still shredded it up, while Anand Wilder rocked an army jump suit and played at least three instruments. Watching this band perform was like viewing an epic battle on a theater screen. There were cannons bursting below, soldiers marching in from the sides, and planes soaring in from above. You never knew where to focus.
We were treated to unnamed songs from their mysterious upcoming album, and if you’ve heard the group’s contribution to the Dark Was The Night compilation, “Tightrope,” then you can get an idea. It’s gospel music with allusions to Brian Eno and The Bee Gees. I prefer the tribal sounds of “Sunrise” and “2080,” but the new ones are catchy and different, which means the group is branching out instead of taking it easy. Another thing that came to mind about the new tracks, they’re just being performed and so, they haven’t had the extensive tightening-via-touring that the songs from the first album have. All the tweaking that occurs on the road must have lead to the percussive barrage that made “Sunrise” almost sound like 2 Live Crew.
The group encored with an extended version of “Wait For The Wintertime.” The song features a creepy organ riff that sounds like you’re in an Egyptian horror film, and there’s a mummy right around the corner. When the group chants in unison, “Solid Gold, nothin’s gonna stop us,” you can’t help but give it up.
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– Phillip Nguyen