All words: Ross Bonaime — All photos: Kara Capelli
With a new album only two months away, Yeasayer started their tour of Fragrant World this week in Richmond. While fans were probably expecting some new material, the audience at The National basically received a sneak peek at the entire album, as they unpacked almost every song from Fragrant World.
Opening for Yeasayer was Delicate Steve, a band that sounds like a combination of Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend and Explosions in the Sky, in the best way possible. Delicate Steve incorporates so much into their sound, from multitasking musicians to nature sounds that undercut some of their songs, a Delicate Steve show feels like one big idea rather than a bunch of songs split up. And the way their music rises and builds to epic finales is incredible. Their final song concluded with a flurry of lights and badass guitars that were quite impressive.
Once Yeasayer took the stage, it was clear that they would be focusing on new material. Their first song showed a great direction for the band, combining sitar-sounding guitars with a borderline dubstep beat. Usually this would rub me the wrong way, but Yeasayer blends so many different styles and genres, it works too well to not enjoy it. Following up their intro was their newest single “Henrietta,” a beautiful showcase encompassning so many parts and layers, it’s exciting to watch it played live.
After three more new songs, “Fingers Never Bleed,” “Blue Paper” and “Longevity,” Yeasayer brought out an old favorite, “O.N.E.,” but with a twist. Yeasayer basically remixes their own song once again making the song more fun to dance to and much more upbeat than the original. After a handful of more new material, such as “Reagan’s Skeleton” and “No Bones,” Yeasayer said that this was their first time in Richmond and that Virginia is home to some of their favorite musicians: Patsy Cline and Missy Elliott, not too much of a surprise for a band with such varying styles in every song.
Yeasayer then gave fans another classic, “Madder Red,” except this time a bit more straightforward than their experimentations with “O.N.E..” Regardless, the song got a great reaction from the crowd. Three more new songs were presented, “Damaged Goods,” “Devil and the Deed” and “Glass of the Microscope.” Many people thought that their second album Odd Blood was a much poppier album than their debut All Hour Cymbals. If the night’s songs are any indication, Fragrant World will be even catchier than their first two and possibly more fun. To end the night, Yeasayer played one of their most dance-y tracks from Odd Blood, “Ambling Alp.”
For an encore, Yeasayer basically finished off the material from the new album, playing “Folk Hero Schtick” and “Demon Road” before their final song, “Tight Rope” from the Dark Was the Night compilation album.
While I’ll admit it was great to be one of the first people to hear the new material from Yeasayer, I do wish they would have presented a bit more variety in the show, mixing new and old. But their new material is incredibly good, and synced with an impressive the light show, Yeasayer kicked off their tour on a high note.