Live at Faversham on Tuesday, 15th November 2005
Some in the UK have criticized Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (CYHSY) recently (perhaps harshly) for what they perceived to be lacklustre performances on several of their live UK shows. Their stage show isn't at the same level of the more performance-driven bands, but their stage presence was likely a result of their recent meteoric rise to notoriety, and should really be interpreted as stunned, daze and confusion. Having spoken to guitarist Lee Sargent after the gig at the Fav., I'm now certain this is the case.
Regularly hailed as the new Arcade Fire (aren't lots of other bands though?), most would agree that given the acclaim for 2005s Funeral, that's quite a mantle to attempt to emulate/achieve; coupled with the current music industry fervour and expectation of the music buying public, would be ample reason to be nervous. Still, despite the obvious anxiety induced by the speed at which most UK dates sold-out (a couple of weeks after the Leeds gig was announced in early October) they gave an exceptional musical performance (the Fav has a small stage and offers little opportunity for stage shenanigans anyway!)
The set comprised tracks off their first, self-titled album and they shimmered clearly and beautifully (hats of PA guys); faithful to recorded version without sounding sterile, in fact, inspirational. This home on ice (a track once available free on the band's website, has since been removed - check the site out guys, for other FREE mp3s!) is one of my tracks-of-the-year and also my stand-out-track of the evening (indie magic). Remembering that such judgment is relative, it should be said the remainder of the set was also pretty special: Let the cool Goddess rust away grooved along nicely and never lost momentum; the synth-riff beginning of The skin of my yellow country teeth, with its delightful, stereo interaction guitar parts and solid drumming, was a definite foot-tapping/head-nodding moment. After obtaining three, free mps from their website this summer (hats of again, but this time to a judicious freebie gift for music lovers) I decided that I was too impatient to wait for the January 24th release date and acquired their album (thankfully before the gig) on import from Amazon.
Whoops, hand-claps and their now synonymous yeahs, were prevalent throughout the set indicating that the crowd were indeed happy with what they were hearing. Music fans should be delighted with what CYHSY pulled-out-the-hat at the Fav. Critics of CYHSY's stage performance may want to question what they value more: good music or stage chimps.