Once in a while, we all need to take a trip to Pyschic City
For Torontonians, that opportunity comes on February 23rd at the Wrongbar.
Of course, I’m talking about Portland band Yacht, who will once again bring their super awesome live act to Toronto once again. It’ll be their first show here since they released their third record Shangri-La (second if you only count what’s on DFA). They’ll be ready to go, and certainly ready to roll and we would like you to be there.
We have a pair of tickets to give away. To enter for a chance to enter, do one of the following
1) Retweet this post
2) Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: “I’d like to go to the Psychic City” with your name in the body.
3) Send us a picture of you on a yacht, holding a yacht record and listening to yacht rock.
Chicago – I’m going to start out this review by giving YACHT some of the highest praise possible (in my book) for a band – they made going out on a Tuesday night worth it.
The night got off to a rocky start – local Chicago opener Cains and Abels took the stage at Lincoln Hall promptly at 8:00 and while they played a solid set, there wasn’t much that the eleven of us in the audience could really do to show our appreciation. Somehow applause and whistles from eleven people sounds more like sarcasm than anything else – sorry guys.
By the time Extreme Animals came on at 9:00 the place was starting to fill up a little. Extreme Animals is composed of two guys, both sporting long locks, one very stoically playing an electric guitar that brings to mind Spinal Tap, and the other auto-tuning covers of a very eclectic mix of covers (my concert companion very aptly dubbed them as Weird Al Yankovic meets Girl Talk, but not necessarily in a good way). Bizarre and slightly creepy images of dismembered hands sifting through sand and melting faces play in the background, and at the climax of the show two three tiered pumpkins inflate on stage – they even have names, (one was Never4Get, and I completely forget the name of the second one). It was a little trippy, a little unpleasant, a little catchy, and a little funny. I have to say my favorite was their last one, which was a mash-up of the Harry Potter theme song and Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a Witch” campaign commercial.
At 10:30 YACHT came out (I was impressed to see that at this point the place was filled. Shout-out to Chicagoans coming out in force on a szuper cold Tuesday night in the name of good music!). The band came on stage and immediately started rockin’ out, no chit-chat. This is definitely a band that sounds better live than recorded. They’ve got an energy that comes across in person that doesn’t quite make it on youtube. You could make the direct comparison because their music videos were playing in the background. I’m not sure why they bothered – it was way more fun to watch lead singer Claire Evans busting out her dance moves. The woman had impressive stamina – she spent a solid hour and a half jumping, wiggling and generally rockin’ out, onstage, offstage, in the audience and even on top of the sound system at one point. That would have made a Tuesday night concert worth it in and of itself but YACHT also sounded fantastic, and they were obviously in tune with the crowd. Clear crowd favorites Summer Song, Psychic City, The Afterlife, Tripped and Fell in Love, definitely got the audience moving and they saved Shangri-La for their single-song encore. There was a powerpoint mid-concert where the audience was told that the event would be split into three acts, starting with an introduction that necessitated the entire audience humming together as one, blah blah blah, but even the band forgot about this unnecessary component once they got rolling, and they never actually made it to act three – we were all too engrossed in the music to care.
Toronto – It’s been two years since Yacht put on an epic performance at the Wrongbar. Sold out and buzzing with energy, the Portland duo put on a fantastic show featuring above all else, a prayer circle to expell the crowd of all evils. Yacht’s return to Toronto on Monday just happen to coincide with this little event called the federal election and produced a decidedly smaller crowd at Lee’s Palace, but that did not deter the group from putting on a stellar show. They were in town to preview their new record, Shangri-La off DFA Records
Dressed once again in contrasting black and white outfits, Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans rocked the stage on Monday night with a mixture of new material with songs off their hit album See Mystery Lights. Barefooted and dressed in a white dress, the wiry Claire was a mesmerizing force on stage – she danced, she sang, she climbed things and during parts of the song The Afterlife, went into the crowd and started tapping people on the head. As my friend put it “if I was in a band, I would be like her … just. do whatever I want on stage!” I was quite surprise with Jona’s decision to remain in the background for most if the set, content with playing synthesizer, guitar and providing the vocals when needed. Last time I saw them there seemed to be a lot more vocal interplay between the pair.
The new tracks blended nicely with the older material, which follows the classic formula of dance worthy beats and upbeat lyrics that eventually lead to singalongs. The disco-esque new single Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire) got a great reaction and as usual the single Psychic City got the crowd singing. It’s impossible to not want to dance a bit when they are on stage. The energy and positive energy they radiate is infectious and the people who were at Lees ate it up. Let’s hope there’s a few more people here next time they roll into town.
Toronto – Royal Wedding, Osama Bin Laden, Fast Five and the Canadian election. You’ve had a lot to handle this past weekend, so why not relax at a show?
Lee’s Palace, April 2nd
Portland’s Yacht put on a helluva show the last time they were in town, resulting in group prayers, stage invasions and the like. Tonight, they will be bringing all that and new tracks off their most likely soon to be released un-named record. Whatever it is, I’m sure that Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans will conjure up some magic.
French pop sensation Yelle will be at the Opera House on Thursday to bring her energetic and fashion eccentric show to the fine folks in Toronto. I watched her show at Coachella and it looked like a helluva time. Sure, very few of us actually speak French, but good music is good music and Yelle’s new album Safari Disco Club is a lovely bouncey pop album. Sure to be a fun show full of dancing.
Doot doot doot, doot doot doo ddoooo Semi Charmed Kinda life.. Relive the 90s at the dreaded Sound Academy when Third Eye Blind rolls into town.
30 Seconds to Mars
May 5th, Kool Haus
Talk about 90s night, after singing along to How It’s Going to Be at the Sound Academy, swing on by to the Kool Haus, where Jared Leto will try to shed his Jordan Catalano character for the fifteenth year in a row.
Peter, Bjorn and John
May 6th, Lee’s Palace
Speaking of trying to shed things, Sweden’s Peter, Bjorn and John have been trying to shed their one high wonder label since they released everyone’s favorite whistling song – Young Folks a few years ago. They are back with a new record – Gimme Some and it’s a noticeable improvement over their previous effort. Look for the band to bring their polished indie pop act to Lee’s Palace on Friday.