Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – [Live]

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Before Brooklyn was to the early Millennium what Seattle was to the Nineties, before the machine pumped out tonnes of boring synth-pop bands and before the broad concept of “hipsterism” was a going concern, there was a small group of bands doing great things and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were among them (as were LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture and TV on the Radio). Clap You Hands Say Yeah's songwriting style – a mixture of synth hooks and both acoustic and electric guitars fronted by the unique vocals of Alec Ounsworth – have earned them a place among music’s elite in a bankrupt decade of entertainment.

The Opera House was little a sparse before the Clap Your Hands set, and openers Waters  were a tad forgettable. Their experiment of jumping into the middle of the “crowd’ with an acoustic guitar and leading a singalong to an unknown song was a bit of a failure – both in their effort to silence an entire venue and because you couldn’t hear the guitar or vocals even if you were standing ten feet away. Waters put in a good effort, but they should have stayed plugged in.

Clap Your Hands music is somewhere in between something you can really freak dance to and something you can enjoy just nodding your head to. When they walked on stage and led their set off with “Let The Cool Goodness Rust Away,” the front of the house leapt up with joy as the back bobbed their heads in enjoyment. This led into explosive new record Hysterical`s rave up track “One Same Mistake,” which proved itself as a  true show opener and got everyone moving. Ounsworth was tired to the point of being unable to hide it anymore – it was the second last day of a three-week tour – but he still poured himself into the show. “It’s been three weeks and it seems like three years” he commented, but it didn’t seem to hinder their performance.

Clap Your Hands' sophomore record Some Loud Thunder was almost completely forgotten for this performance save for fan favorite “Satan Said Dance” played third in the set. From then on it was all material from their debut record and Hysterical. By the time “In This Home on Ice” was played, the crowd was revved up and getting drunker, and dancing was without caution. Clap Your Hands strays pretty far from a mosh pit environment, but the dancing girls didn’t seem to mind the group of rowdy boys who assembled in the middle of the room and everyone had a smile on their face so no harm done. When the set ended with “The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth”, “Is This Love” and “Heavy Metal,” the mosh had grown and was spiraling out of control, but guitarist Robbie Guertin seemed more than amused observing the insanity from the stage.

Encoring with “Adam`s Plane” (an acoustic number from Hysterical) and into the semi-acoustic “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood,” the crowd was unstoppable and spinning like tops. A fight may even have broken out, but it was hard to tell. In the end, the band thanked the fans and the fans kept dancing in front of the stage. No one wanted this Friday night to end at 12:00am.



Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Opera House – 12/09/11 [Live]


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