“I was a bit perplexed by their encore,” said Yannis Philippakis, singer with UK band Foals, who’d been at the Vancouver Yeasayer show (and still loved it, of course). “I thought they’d, you know, pull out the crowd pleasers.”
“Yeah, but you know what it’s like,” I said, as we had drinks afterwards at a nearby bar, “you know how eager you will be to stop playing the old songs and start playing your new album.” “True,” Philipakkis conceded.
And that’s exactly what Yeasayer did. Eight songs of 11 from their most excellent new Fragrant World album, were stitched between those crowd pleasers – “2080″ was always a joy, “Ambling Alp” , “Wait for Summer” and “O.N.E” all sounded so typically huge.
But the real winners were the new tracks, even if the audience were gagging for old faithfuls. There was a new energy in Chris Keating (“It’s good to be back, Vancouver. I’m married to a Vancouver woman, so I guess that makes me a Vancouver man”) as he twiddled knobs, stomped the stage or fell to his knees. Anand Wilder took more leads, and Ira Wolf Tuton lead the claps and kept the back end with their amazing standing-up drummer. And while Fragrant World in your headphones sounds darker, slower and more twitchy, live it has the complexity but extends with a wide wingspan. There’s an artistry here – including in the spaceshippy lightshow, which was appreciated by Diamond Rings who was also watching from the crowd – that few bands match. “Fragrant World”, “Henrietta”, “Devil & the Deed” were all standouts.
It’s like the line in “Ambling Alp”, the one that Keating suggested we’d all know to sing along to: “Stick up for your self, son/Nevermind what anybody else done” and Yeasayer did just that. They coulda been tentative, slipped just a few newbies in, relied on the past. But screw it, right? Soon, these new songs will be classics, too, and we’ll remember they it felt so new and fresh and…perplexing. \m/