Yuck at Triple Rock, 1/20/14
Photo By Darin Kamnetz
With Prissy Clerks and Fury Things
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Monday, January 20, 2014
For Yuck's celebrated return to Minneapolis at the Triple Rock last night, they wisely paired the London quartet with two local bands who share their same indie spirit and influences. Prissy Clerks and Fury Things rounded out a stellar triple-bill that brought out a good chunk of area music lovers on a frigid Monday night, and we were rewarded with a series of different interpretations of the guitar-fueled garage rock of the past two decades.
The irrepressible Dinosaur Jr.-loving trio Fury Things opened the night with a rousing 35-minute set that showcased not only where the band is pushing their sound in the future, but also the restless, untamed material that got them here. The band is working towards finishing up their forthcoming full-length, while frontman Kyle Werstein gets ready to graduate college in May, so a vital creative energy is clearly flowing within the group at the moment and their focused and fiery set reflected that.
They opened with a boisterous run through of "Harsh" that immediately warmed up the band and crowd alike as the club began to fill. "Hard to Breathe" and "Whatever" both churned forward with a raw intensity, with the group clearly taking full advantage of opening for two bands that they clearly love in a club that Werstein thought he'd never get a chance to play in. The group slowed things down a bit on a Built to Spill-like version of "Surf Ditty," which eventually dissolved into a blissful wall of distortion.
Photo By Darin Kamnetz
Werstein mentioned that they have a 7-inch coming out soon, and played one of the new tracks from that forthcoming release, "Matter," which mixed an urgent melody with a smooth rhythm generated by bassist Devon Bryant and drummer Andy Carson. Sharing the new track seemed to inspire the band, as the set closed with distortion-drenched versions of "Glasgow" and "Day" that ended the performance on a high.
Prissy Clerks also shared a couple of new songs during their concise 30-minute set, but started things off with a flurry of jams from their excellent 2012 album, Bruise Or Be Bruised. "Wisest" and the anthemic "Blast-Off Girls" got the set started with a shot, and the band didn't let up once during their breakneck set, packing ten insistent songs within their half-hour performance. The group recently hit up the Seattle area for a successful run of shows, and they clearly were road tested and ready to capitalize on the opportunity of opening for Yuck.
Photo By Darin Kamnetz
Songs like "Death Wish," "Psychic Hearts" and the album's title-track all took on an assured pulse driven along by Clara Salyer and Dylan Lee Ritchie's raucous guitar riffs, which gave the melodic tracks a rough edge. "No Sir" had a vibrant bounce to it that eventually blossomed into a wall of discord, as the quintet all lost themselves in the expansive outro. The last two tracks of the set were both thrilling new numbers, "Creep City" and "Bad Seed," which featured a balance between sunny, surf-rock charm and a rowdy punk fury. The crowd clearly wanted to hear more, but the group quickly put down their instruments, prompting the sound guy to ask, "You done?" Clara responded with a quick "Yeah," but with new (and old) material as stellar as this, we will clearly be hearing more from Prissy Clerks soon enough.
Yuck has gone through some pretty significant changes since their Minneapolis debut at the Varsity in 2011, as singer and founding member Daniel Blumberg left the band. But Max Bloom forged ahead, taking over most vocal duties on the group's new album, Glow & Behold, with new guitarist Ed Hayes rounding out their live lineup. And they clearly didn't miss Blumberg much at all during their catchy and captivating hour-long set, as both the new tracks and old numbers took on an inspired -- but slightly different -- edge. The tight rhythm section of bassist Mariko Doi and drummer Jonny Rogoff gave the songs a pulsating heart, while Bloom and Hayes both provided a spiraling wall of guitars that drove the songs forward.
The new track "Middle Sea" got the set started strongly, but it was the massive hook of "Holing Out" which really got the crowd and the band into it. While the vocals clearly took on a slightly different tone due to Blumberg's departure, there is no denying the killer appeal of the riff and melody, and the song soared. A Weezer-like rendition of "Lose My Breath" featured Hayes taking over lead vocals, but the slightly meandering track never really coalesced, especially in comparison to the fiery previous number.
Photos By Darin Kamnetz
"Thanks so much for coming out on such a brisk evening," joked Bloom. And indeed, the band's other Minneapolis show was on a scorching summer day, with about a 100-degree temperature difference between their two performances. But the quartet really warmed things up in the Triple Rock with feisty jams like "Out of Time," "Get Away," and the toned-down, MBV-like drone of "Rebirth." Bloom bears a slight resemblance to the Shins' James Mercer, so when he strapped on an acoustic guitar for the keys-laden "Nothing New," the track really took on a relaxed quality reminiscent of the Albuquerque indie band.
Yuck are still writing new material, which is an encouraging sign for fans of the band, and they debuted one of those new tracks, "Another One," towards the end of their taut, well-paced set. It fit in perfectly alongside their other guitar-fueled material, and led nicely into the Superchunk-esque "The Wall," which featured Doi on vocals. Bloom then thanked the openers warmly (though had a bit of trouble distinguishing between Furry and Fury Things), saying, "They were pretty fucking awesome, so buy their shit."
Photo By Darin Kamnetz
A rowdy, distortion-drenched take on New Order's "Age Of Consent" proved to be one of the clear standouts of the set, and the band carried the creative energy of that track into an absolutely massive version of "Operation" which brought the main set to a riotous close. After a brief break, the band returned, with Bloom thanking the crowd for not letting the shit weather keep any of us at home. "It might be a Monday night, and it's like -17º outside, but in here it's like at least 30º Celsius -- because that's what I know."
A simmering and wistful take on "Memorial Fields" started the encore off poignantly, but it was an anthemic rendition of "Georgia" which closed the show in a unifying, upbeat manner, with the crowd singing the chorus along with the band, taking the searching quality of the song to heart. Yuck proved that despite the shakeup, they stil have the songs and the talent to keep us all listening.
Personal Bias: Yuck's self-titled debut was one of my favorite records of 2011. And while it has taken me a while to come around to their new album, this show dispelled my worries about the direction the band is heading in without Blumberg.
The Crowd: A great turnout on a freezing Monday night, with most everyone showing up early to support the local openers as well.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Fuck that wind out there."
Random Notebook Dump: This was a perfectly matched triple-bill, with all three bands sharing many of the same musical influences. It made for a truly enjoyable show from start to finish, with enough guitar riffs to keep us all warm for the night.
Lose My Breath
Out of Time
Age Of Consent (New Order)
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