Saturday, 14 July 2012

Yeasayer – Tivoli De Helling

Yeasayer – Monday 9, 2012 at Tivoli De Helling

When writing for VP Music, many people assume our life is full of backstage passes, VIP press cards and a backlog of free albums people are begging us to review. While this might not happen every day, every now and then the stars seem to align and we are given a pre-release of an album we are dying to hear, an interview with a band we love and to top it all off, our names on the door to a show we would have paid double to see.

These days are great days, especially when all three items involve Yeasayer. 

Whether or not the band feels any pressure about releasing the follow up album to the critically acclaimed Odd Blood makes very little difference to me, I will be heavily critiquing the release of their new album a Fragrant World, just to see if it stacks up to one of my favorite albums of 2010.

The most recent Yeasayer gig was held in a little, out of the way, 400 capacity venue in Utrecht called the Tivoli De Helling. I was not only excited to get my name on the door, as the gig had been a sell out for a while, but also it was the first time I had been to this venue. Truth be told, really, it was all about seeing Yeasayer perform some of their new songs for the first time live that excited me most.

These new live songs would be songs that I had been playing on high rotation at home for the last 48 hours from an album that is due for release in mid way through August. One of the media releases quotes the new album Fragrant World as their highly anticipated 3rd album, which is fantastic PR rhetoric, but there is something very true about that statement for us at VP Music too. The album Odd Blood was one of our most played albums in 2010 and was beautifully full of poppy hooks and loops which were accompanied with some very emotive, almost depressing lyrics to tug at even the most strong heart strings.

So how do you back that up?

Well if I know anything about these guys it is that they wouldn’t just make Odd Blood mark 2. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t expect them to stray too far, but stray they would. This album to me is a bit more electronic in feel, but it is still quintessentially Yeasayer.

As I was really looking forward to seeing the band in September it was a real treat to catch this gig before the actual release of the new album as I expect both gigs will be noticeably different. Slowly the Tivoli filled to capacity and the band took the stage. No flashing lights at each members music station or baggy pants to be seen this tour, well not at least this early on, I expect that when they are back this way in September they may have a slightly increased production value.

The set list was very good, the older crowd favorite songs were covered off on, specifically Madder Red and O.N.E., that being said they did not replay the album versions, that’s not the Yeasayer way, but still the songs were given to the adoring crowd never the less. Accompanying the crowd pleasers was a healthy number of new songs, and having been one of the few punters in the venue who had been playing these new songs to death, I was exceptionally pleased when I found the new songs were even better live then they had been on the album and that being said, I really enjoyed playing the new album all on its own.

The guys played Longevity, Henrietta, blue paper, Reagan’s Skeleton, FolkHero Shtick, No bones, Devil and Deed and Damaged goods which are all off the new album, also they played the song Fragrant World which does not actual feature on the new album of the same name.

There is this strange aspect when Yeasayer play, it almost feels like they are out there to do a job, they don’t really leave much time between songs for applause before they launch into the next song and they don’t talk to the crowd a lot, but they do look like they are enjoying what they are doing, they are applying their trade and making them selves happy in the process.

One of my favorite moments of crowd interaction was when Chris, mid song took a camera out of the hands of a guy filming him in the front row, he proceeded to film the crowd and then place the camera on his mixing desk. At the end of the song he joked that they had just made a music video and that whilst they don’t get paid much they do occasionally get to keep a camera or two.

Will the new album have as much success as Odd Blood? Well that is really hard to say, but I think the more I hear it the more I like it and it could just well be.


Stayed tuned for VP Music’s interview with Ira from Yeasayer– coming soon.

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