Yeasayer : Billboard The Venue
With a headline appearance scheduled for a bewilderingly early 8:30pm, it always seemed that Yeasayer were content to just show up and ship out as soon as they could. The set would run into its encore just over 50 minutes in and all of it felt over just a little too soon. The Brooklyn quintet provided a fun performance regardless, with Sydney-siders Ghoul in tow as their support.
Ghoul specialise in a polarising aesthetic; their brooding, electronic pop perhaps a little too experimental for some. They sounded rhythmic, primal and, to their credit, refreshingly ambitious. They're a band that really go out on a limb to create things weird and wonderful. By the same token, however, their slow-burning sense of atmosphere failed to generate much excitement or intrigue within the building crowd, who responded with a lukewarm reception. It seemed that when the more shrill, lively effects came through, the band found a certain spark that too often goes missing.
That momentary urgency sure won over more eyes and ears than the sludgy bass drudgery of their set's beginnings. A very Kid A-inspired experience with a highly specific appeal, Ghoul are a band you'll either sink your teeth into gladly or leave aside, cling-wrapped and forgotten. Whichever camp you found yourself in on this particular night, you could not deny that their creative potential was, nevertheless, obvious.
Yeasayer took to the stage, receiving rapturous adoration from their legion of fans. Tightrope opened their set in a beautifully dreamy fashion, its conclusion prompting a gift of free wine to those on the barrier. If that wasn't enough to suggest the band's intentions, then O.N.E. certainly would: a dance party ignited, limbs shifting, attuned to the band's intricate percussion. Rome only saw things escalate, with Yeasayer adding a fiery, frenetic dimension to their experimental-pop genius.
Great theatrics and a wealth of energy are infused within the band's performance; their showmanship meeting their expert musicianship in a wonderful display. However, the main attraction must surely be the band's faithful recreation of their intricate studio prowess, each detail born again with scintillating life. Their unique fusion of a ubiquitous sonic aesthetic with their basic pop sensibilities really does make them irresistible; it's simply a joy to see how each and every element comes together.
Predictably, Madder Red and Ambling Alp were the two biggest songs of the set, the venue in fine voice for each. It had become clear that Yeasayer, in their second visit to Melbourne in less than six months, had undoubtedly triumphed again.
Loved: The fixation upon the more pop-oriented tunes of Yeasayer's album Odd Blood.
Hated: That the show finished before it felt like it had really begun.
Drank: Pepsi, though the request had been for Coke - grumble.