Posts Tagged ‘Brillobox’

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Brillobox

October 24, 2008

While it can be argued that life could get better, it doesn’t. that is to say, despite my complaints about and in recent weeks, life is by most accounts pretty swell. It don’t get better than this, and I’m dealing.

The other night (October 21) I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Brillobox. It’s always nice to have national acts acknowledge the existence of Pittsburgh. Hopefully the enthusiastic yet stationary (dance, damn you!) crowd meant that we’ll see them again in the future. It was their first time here, but I think we left them with a good impression.

Admittedly, I am not the number one superfan of CYHSY. I dig them ok, but I was not in a position to sing along. I don’t usually jump on Pitchfork’s bandwagons, because I find the lot of them to be insufferable pricks. I just happen to be very enthusiastic about live music, hence, I was there.

Doors opened at 8, which meant I wouldn’t get there until half-past, and that no music would begin until like 9:40. Approximately. My bad mood in the meantime was diminished by the soundman playing “Oh! You Pretty Things” and “Autumn Sweater” over the system. It was not helped by the fact that the ‘box is non-smoking now, and apparently I managed to time my cig breaks so that I was cancering myself all by my lonesome.

Why grouchy? Well, because I was at a show, alone, again. Either I’m too much of an elitist indie fuck for my friends or they have little to no interest in good music. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, and I could prolly help my case by, uh, making friends with someone at these shows, but whatever. I don’t need another friend, I’ve got too many friends.

So I’m 3/4 or something for going to shows alone in the last six months or whatever, I missed out on Ukiah last Saturday. A big bummer, because when I finally got up the nerves to leave the house (and bathe, jesus. I was all kinds of shambles) and go for a walk around midnite, Howler’s was packed. Packed with all sorts of kids just like me, drinking pbr and smoking cigs and enjoying music that sounded great from Liberty Avenue. I don’t know who the headliner was that night, but between them and Ukiah, it would have been well worth the five bucks to get in.

I did have a date for the CYHSY show, but luck has been absent for me recently, so it fell through. I gave someone at the door my extra ticket gratis in the hopes of shoring up my karma.

9:40 and local band Donora came on. Think Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ second album meets the Cardigans. The bassist was having more fun than an amusement park and laying down some perky five-stringed grooves, and singer/guitarist was confidently belting out some solid pop nuggets. I will most definitely stay frosty for future show of theirs. Maybe buy their EP.

It was a long wait for yrs truly, with nary an ear to squawk into. But joy of joys, it did happen. CYHSY treated the crowd to a propulsive set, including four new songs, two of which laid down before the one song I could confidently sing at least some of the words to- “Satan Said Dance“. It didn’t matter, because barely anyone danced. I guess they’re not down with Beelzebub.

Obviously, albums don’t do any great band’s live show justice and this was no exception. I didn’t care much about the yokels around me, I let myself get sucked into the jangly yet danceable wall of sound. Their records sound flat compared to the live act, obviously. Also, CYHSY does that with their production anyway (something I kind of hate), which is why I am not a superfan.

It was a mixed crowd, some well-dressed, some shabby (hiya!), some young, some old. Two such older dudes in front of me were totally into the show, pumping fists and going on about how CYHSY have put out some of the best songs of the last ten years and obscuring my view. I’m kinda short.

After a nice long set:

Space Junk
Is This Love?
Man at the Bar
Satan Said Dance
Details of the War
Strong Man
In This Home on Ice
Trotsky’s Fence
Gimme Some Salt
Statues
Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
Clap Your Hands!
Heroes
The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth
Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood

CYHSY departed from the stage to some loud thunderous applause (get it?! ha!). Many in the audience, coincidentally, were demanding that particular song. For our foot-stomping and whistles, we were rewarded with a two-song encore:

Some Loud Thunder
Heavy Metal

While I don’t think that CYHSY can lay claim to towering above their contemporaries, I have a new-found appreciation and interest in them. At the very least, the music is some of the best self-conscious, neurotic dance-rock in this decade that occasionally employs a harmonica. I can safely say they’ve pretty much cornered that market.

Grade: B

And only because I refuse to give such an esoteric outfit anything higher out of principle, and for all the energy in the music itself, the band themselves couldn’t stoke more than a dozen people to move around like their shoes don’t fit.

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