Show Review: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Mohawk (8/11)
Brave fans braved potentially threatening weather; it smooth poured with tons of lightning out at my house in the hours before I left to head downtown, but The Hawk was spared such drama. Load in, soundcheck, my moles on the inside let me know all was well. Rain dotted the evening, never really coming down in quantity, just a smattering to humidify things to “moist” levels.
Roger Sellers brought along Matt Hines of ATH faves The Eastern Sea to go acoustic, Alec Ounsworth took advantage of a little extra time in the schedule to play some songs solo not often heard live and then piloted the whole band known as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah through a set of folk music disguised as indie dance party classics and new stuff that I actually enjoyed A LOT.
Read on for thoughts and plenty of pics…
Roger Sellers moseyed on stage after a toothbrush filled mic check by the stage manager at The Mohawk. Dry banter and a pleasant smile consumed the time in between his well-crafted almost solo set, Matt adding the harmonies and beautiful guitar flourishes. They started with a cover, Phil Collin‘s “Another Day in Paradise”. I sense a 7″ B-Side. #doit He also covered an Akron/Family tune on the way to making new fans. The set closed with a brand new song that I honestly wanted to lift the recording off the board and post here. Roger is a talented guy, one of the nicest people you will meet in the biz, so go see him and say hello.
Alec then came on to perform, as he called them, songs that don’t fit into a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah live show. I gauged how things were going by the crowd reaction and the fans of the band settled into near silence to take in the fun. Others talked a bit like an Austin crowd is known to do, but the best moment was the tour sound guy hushing people near the soundboard, “Pardon me, I am mixing here.”
A brief break as band members set up a Macbook and tuned a few things. When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah had two members leave after what you could call their weakest effort, it seems Alec grabbed things by the scruff of the neck. The newest material is a bit more complex. Yes, he still has that uniquely strained vocal that grounds songs in a singer-songwriter weight so complex topics have meaning if you listen intently. …or you could just dance and stuff. Members of the band would add their own moves and punctuation to songs, ebbing and flowing their output to the tempo as Alec would occasionally flirt with the front few rows, eventually appeasing their needs getting up close and quite personal. The heat took a toll, long breaks for water, though Alec refused to lose the hat and numerous requests from a few front row ladies to remove his clothing were left unfulfilled. I previewed “As Always” and while I love “Yellow Teeth” and “Satan”, the newest single was my favorite. I like the new direction and you get a sense that now that and as long as Alec fully owns what is going on in CYHSY, the songs will be strong.