YACHT – [Live]

Monday, 27 June 2011

Last Sunday night, Brooklyn’s North Side Music Festival featured an appearance by YACHT at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Blog readers were out in droves, as the nautically acronym-ed group from my beloved Pacific Northwest did their best to look and feel like a local act. It's funny seeing a band from Portland, Oregon in Brooklyn’s most infamously hipster-ified neighborhood. It's like eating a crepe at a Montreal themed restaurant in France (literally an import, not theoretically). This novelty didn’t wear on me, nor did it wear on my bearded, tattooed and/or excessively pierced friends ― all of whom arrived as if in support of a neighbor.   

YACHT hit the stage one by one with lead singer, Claire L. Evans, being the last to waltz down the stairs to the front and center of the crowd. It didn’t take much investigating to notice that she was quite easy on the eyes. She was dressed in all white, and used a white microphone with a white microphone wire. I think it's a theme. Later, she wound herself with that microphone wire and the rest of the venue was on pause while she did it.

Even though I was a bit bummed to miss out on the show I’d heard about ― complete with a lengthy and amusing PowerPoint presentation ― it was nice to see the band perform without the aid of any visuals, it made their act human. They were able to stop the show and field questions from the audience and then walk through the audience without being bombarded. These were people that I could walk right up to and talk to. I could ask them what their favorite kind of peanut butter is ― crunchy or creamy? I’m afraid that won’t be their circumstance for long though.

The comparisons between LCD Soundsystem and YACHT are inevitable and will persist (I make them a lot, myself). It doesn’t help that both bands have a healthy dosage of DFA in their genealogy and that they used to tour together, but this show made me see major differences, at least. First of all, I don’t think James Murphy and Co. would ever cover Judas Priest, and hearing Claire say “Breaking the Law” was a lot more entertaining than many of the well-written words that James Murphy had to offer. But, like Murphy, YACHT creator Jona Bechtolt had a masterful command of every instrument on stage throughout the band’s set. He had that “mad genius” swagger down cold. It’s only a matter of time before broader audiences pick them up.

Seeing YACHT play live, it's clear that the band is at a cross roads in their career as an indie group. Now they’re this band that a bunch of Internet nerds (myself included) know from their RSS feeds but, soon, they’ll be on the cover of that coveted old-fashioned print magazine. This was never more apparent than when they played the last song of their set, their only single to receive serious attention at this point “Psychic City (Voodoo City),” just before they went off stage for the encore.

And about that encore: the Macarena dance was funny, but let’s keep that to a minimum. I’m all about furthering Portland’s image and I wish that song would stay in the Nineties.  



YACHT at Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 19, 2011


Yacht's new album, Shangri-La, comes out on July 5, 2011. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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