Saturday, March 11, 2006

If You're Happy And You Know It...




...Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I fully expected to go to this show and have a boatload of negative things to say. No, I didn't buy a ticket, and no, I didn't stand outside of Variety Playhouse to try and come by one since this show was sold out for months. A friend of mine with faith in the band and an extra ticket asked me to give them a chance, so I have, and here's the verdict:

I was impressed. CYHSY is not one of those bands I would listen to while just sitting around with my thumb up my ass, or put in my car's CD player, but as far as a live act, it's doable. The five piece makes use of keys, guitars, and an amazing drummer, Sean Greenhalgh, who really added a good, strong presence to the show. It wasn't that he performed phenomenally or did anything spectacular, it was the fact that his part in the songs they played stood out the most to me over frontman Alec Ounsworth's vocals, which I finally decided sounded like a mixture between Bob Dylan and Jane's Addiction lead, Perry Farrell.

The style of the group is respectable, mainly because they all look like they belong together. Last night had them all wearing t-shirts, each man in a different color. As I was watching them, I could almost feel the passion for playing their music for a room full of die-hard fans exuding from them, and I greatly admired them for it, as most bands have lost all sense of why they are musicians in the first place. Although I feel like the performance started off slow, it definitely picked up by the second song, and about halfway through, the keyboard player/guitarist started jumping up and down onstage and shaking his tambourine with such valor that it actually had me toe-tapping. During the entire set, I noticed that the band clapped more than most I've seen throughout some of the songs, and the crowd followed. I find this act of expression to be overly fitting considering the name of the band.

If you have been living under a rock, then you may not have heard of the Arctic Monkeys, however, I see CYHSY taking the same direction. They self-released a self-titled album last year before being signed to Wichita Records in the UK after rave reviews from Pitchfork Media and becoming hugely popular on the underground indie-hipster scene. Since then they've appeared on David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, and the rumors have flown throughout the grapevine that both Elton John and David Bowie have been spotted in attendance at their shows. I could completely see the hippies catching onto CYHSY as well, if they would ever bother to pull their heads out of Widespread Panic's ass long enough to listen to it.
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