Yeasayer embraces color, rediscovers its sound at Union Transfer (review, photos, setlist)

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“I miss the Spaghetti Warehouse. Why aren’t we playing in the Spaghetti Warehouse?” – Chris Keating’s Friday introduction to a sold out crowd at a Yeasayer homecoming (1/3 accurate).

The longevity of a band can sometimes be revealed with the release of its third album.

When Yeasayer‘s All Hour Symbols came out in 2007, it was a breakthrough in a newly founded genre of Indie-Psych-Pop. It was a rhythm-based and melodically thoughtful album, and it felt somewhat animalistic to be drawn to the pounding percussions produced by such a young act. Reminiscent of the sounds one might have expected in background of the Last of the Mohicans, the band progressively morphed it into the realms and textures that would’ve been found in the 10010011101’s of the Matrix trilogy. As music and the times change, a band will adapt with the times and the audience. They consider their audience, before recognizing that they had one waiting. The music-maker factory, that is – the musically-enchanted, band-breeding Brooklyn was just getting started, then.

While All Hour Symbols brought us out of a daze of the similar-sounding, 2010’s Odd Blood served more as a back-peddle and a catch-up. An album trying too hard to compete out of their bracket with the likes of the Rhianna’s and the bass driven club hits of the world, and neglecting the fact that they had milled a sound of their own, it felt instead as though each member took a stab at the writing without doing a lot of listening.

There was nothing left to the imagination here, and the heat was then on to not join MGMT at the back of the line that they helped form.

We waited, instead, for the charm of a third. Time would tell. With its hopeful return to the tribe where they grew up, a Fragrant World was this.

And on the Fifth day, The Sayers of Yea created color. And brought it on tour. Producing a color and light show to equal the breadth and spirit of their sound was no easy feat. They brought in The Creators Project and Casey Reas to attempt to adapt and attach visuals to sound, instagratificating the world with a light show to be remembered (digitally). They waste no time, either in pushing a sound they were clearly behind, pumping out the first three out of four songs from the latest release.

1. Blue Paper
2. Henrietta
3. 2080
4. Longevity

It was around this point when bassist Ira Wolf Tuton declared his love for his hometown “NWP” (North West Philly) ((Otherwise known as Chestnut Hill)) (((Otherwise known as not a place that would be abbreviated as NWP))) as well as his love for the venue that “Philly needed for such a long time – good works, guys.”

The show traveled back in time, occasionally, but was very much a new album push – playing all but three of the newest, and hardly any of the classics. No one seemed to notice, blown away by either the lights, the sounds, or perhaps just enjoying the grown-up versions of a band that has charmed their way back into the lime-purple-pink-orange-light with an onstage presence taking them now on their second world tour.

5. O.N.E.
6. Don’t Come Close
7. Madder Red
8. Demon Road

Chris’ foot (feet) took a molesting, at this point, and from my vantage point, he was sincerely pissed at the teen-wolfer who would dare steal the left of his tiger-printed Nike Trainers. Threatening that “Ambling Alp” would be the last song, they played for nearly another hour. There were sing-alongs and amazing solos, smiling and sweaty faces and the feeling of a night where the world had a scent; a fragrance of familiarity as a band found its sound, again.

9. Wait for the Summer
10. Reagan’s Skeleton
11. Ambling Alp

As different evolutions of lights emerged from multiple projectors onto the twenty-foot hall of mirror’s wall the crowd was finally and completely consumed by the time the lights dimmed out. More cheering, more moving and more consummation than other acts might draw – an encore was imminent, yet the encore was brief.

12. Fingers never Bleed
13. Devil & the Deed
14. Tight Rope
15. Folk Hero Schtick

A well-rounded evening, and a promising performance – finally knowing that there is hope for musicians’ originality, and not just for their conformity.

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