Good news for those with exceedingly nasal voices and indie rockstar pipe dreams – there’s hope for you.
Friday night at the Blind Pig, the bullet-sweating crowd was practically creaming its too-tight Levi’s over Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. One of the biggest buzz bands of the past year – lauded by the nation’s Pitchforks and Rolling Stones alike – CYHSY also boasts painfully nasal frontman Alec Ounsworth. Yet those not impressed by his vocal talents should have noted the faithful fans singing along to much of the band’s set. Teenage scenesters as well as the post-grad sect bopped and jumped, clapping their hands to Ounsworth – with his rhinal vocals, Roman nose and all. The sold-out crowd provided 300-part harmonies, toning down the singer’s strident warbling.
The night was a textbook example of the elevating effect of an enthusiastic crowd on an already-quality show. Extended instrumental breaks led to audience improvisation – at one point, an ever-familiar bass drum/snare pattern inspired a repeated chorus of “Oh, Mickey, you’re so fine.”
Unless you came with the douchebag mooning over the band and trying to crowdsurf through the disgruntled mass – or you were the douchebag himself – the Blind Pig was quite the dance party with CYHSY, supported by opener The Brunettes, a pleasant Kiwi surprise from the other side of the world. Though it’s damned near impossible to look sexy playing clarinet, The Brunettes’ female lead and the rest of the group were a flirty, energetic precursor to CYHSY.
As for the headliners themselves, CYHSY opened with one of their better-knowns, “Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away,” keeping the audience’s attention while easily moving through their catalogue. The almost-delicate, countryside jaunt of “Blue Turning Gray” turned into a barnstorming dancer as it segued into “Is This Love?” with the latter’s shimmering runs of synth and keys.
Somewhere around the fourth or fifth song, one might have noticed that the Pig was decidedly steamy that night. And not in a sexy way. Ounsworth’s pajama top boasted an impressive swathe of back sweat by the end of the band’s set, though he refused to take off his knit ski cap, keeping with the band’s carefully molded hobo-chic image.
Besides crowd favorites like “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth,” CYHSY played a number of new songs. One strangely ensnaring track – “Satan Said Dance” – found the band members as well as the crowd chanting “Satan! Satan!” with an almost alarming fervor. Cute.
Dispelling a preconceived reputation as a boring live band, CYHSY ran through a solid, enthusiastic show. There wasn’t much band-to-crowd interaction, but there were hints of AC/DC with the guitarist’s hopping, one-legged guitar antics.
The band finished with the “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” before returning for a enthusiastic encore. Extravagantly hyped underground band, happy-go-lucky guitars and meaty drums backing one of the most ear-splitting voices in music today – somehow it all works.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
At the Blind Pig