Concert Review: Yeasayer, May 1st, Lee’s Palace

“One’s not enough, I won’t stop ‘til I’ve given you up” O.N.E – Yeasayer

That line was my motto for the entire Yeasayer concert, I wanted this show to go on forever.

I bought Yeasayer tickets way back in December as a partially last-minute, partially self-serving Christmas present for my two roommates and I. At that point only familiar with their first album, All Hour Cymbals which I’d classify as psychedelic experimental pop, I liked the band but wasn’t overly excited tosee them. Their second album, Odd Blood really stepped it up with the genre-crossing tunes which made the album more diverse, catchy, and pop-ish while still staying true to their experimental layered psychedelic sound. After a few listens I was now very interested to see how this album would translate into a live performance.

Arriving half way through the Sleigh Bells set (openers) I saw immediately that I didn’t miss much. The band consists of a guitarist, accompanied by the frontwoman screaming out their electric-rock tunes. Personally I liked listening to them on my iPod better than seeing them live. Too much screaming (I’m actually 24, not 95 as that statement implies).

Yeasayer came out, five members strong and opened with The Children and Strange Reunions, their slower more offbeat tracks from Odd Blood. The band consists of two vocalists, one on keys and guitar, the other on the mixer, a bass player who also does back-up vocals, a keyboardist/mixer/guitar player and a drummer.

About 15 minutes into their set, that distinctive and somewhat tribal Rome riff was played and by then Yeasayer had the crowd hooked. Song order to me is very important and I enjoy it when bands start off with their more obscure tunes and do a slow build to their more catchy, popular ones (this should be a given in my opinion).

They played a few older songs, Wait for Summer, 2080 and Tightrope which were good but Odd Blood is a lot more bright and upbeat so I’m glad they stuck to the new material. 75% of the way through the set they got to O.N.E., one of Yeasayer’s most recognized songs, the catchy chorus paired with a very eclectic and again, tribal sound re-energized the crowd. They continued their momentum by playing Mondegreen with it’s driving clap-like beat, Madder Red and ending with the very motivational and first single, Ambling Alp.

Listening to Yeasayer’s albums is one thing, but to see these guys do everything live themselves was amazing. Their songs are so complex, full of loops, layers and creative sounds (at one point a mariachi shaker was being used as a drumstick). Doesn’t get much better than this as far as live shows go and I would suggest being close to the front because it’s fun to watch all the action on stage.

When Yeasayer exited, the crowd immediately chanted them back out and they returned to play Grizelda and Sunrise. If could be so bold, this is one of the best concerts I’ve seen in Toronto.

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts, Everything