For an unknown reason, to me at least, the Yeasayer show in Vancouver on August 29th was moved from The Malkin Bowl to The Commodore. Thank to the powers of the internet, the word got out to the masses and fans made it to the right venue. That being said, some people did not take the start time into consideration. I am referring to the fact that as I was leaving the show, people were still coming up to the door with tickets. A start time at 9:15 makes sense for the Malkin Bowl, but not The Commodore.
The Commodore Ballroom was packed by the time I arrived. I missed out on opening act Daughn Gibson , but from what I heard he was very good. As I was in line at the bar, a voice came on over the speakers saying “Good Evening Vancouver.” It began looping. Some ambient music started to play with it. As the loop continued the energy in the venue grew and grew. As the four members of Yeasayer took the stage, the crowd erupted and you could no longer hear the loop.
This show was a full-sensory experience. As expected, Yeasayer unleashed a wall of infectious sound from the stage. This was accompanied by a great light show, as well as a unique visual component. The backdrop behind the band had a series of mirrors placed at different angles. These mirrors had lights hitting them from the front and reflecting back out to the crowd. There was also a few panels that were a white material that had shapes, mainly triangles, on them. The combination of Yeasayer’s psychedelic/electronic music, the 3-part harmonies, the lights, and the visuals created a truly full-sensory experience. I have never seen anything like this at the Commodore. Sure, large-scale arena shows do this. But to have it on this size stage, while being executed so well, was a treat.
As it turns out, Yeasayer has a strong Vancouver connection. This isn’t in the sense like other artists. One of the core members of the band, Chris Keating, is married to a Vancouver woman. “I’m married to a Vancouver woman, so I am basically a Vancouver man now.” Between songs, Chris mentioned his love for our fair city a few times. “I actually wrote this song while travelling up here” he joked as they broke into a song that (sorry) I did not recognize. After the song was over Chris said “Let’s play the strings part ONE more time for Vancouver.” Each time Chris looped the string section of the song, the crowd erupted. I guess finding out a song was written en route to your city makes you like even more.
Near the end of the nearly 90 minute set, the band kicked into the track Ambling Alp. For what it is worth, this is one of my personal favourite Yeasayer songs. I was near the back of the Commodore with a beer in hand when this song started. I locked eyes with a fellow concertgoer, we nodded at one another, downed our drinks, locked hands and made our way to the middle of the crowd. The motivational lyrics had the two of us dancing like nobody was watching and not singing, it had us SCREAMING the lyrics – “Stick up for yourself son. Nevermind what anybody else done!” We were not alone doing this. The dance floor transformed into a community moving together. Strangers were locking arms. Friends were finding one another on the floor. This song captured what it is that makes live music so amazing. The sense of connection that is instantly made with complete strangers. The complete disregard for all your cares for that moment in time when the band you love plays your favourite song. I know I was not the only person who felt this way at The Commodore. If you have ever been to see your favourite band live, you know what I am talking about.
Oh before I forget, if you were the lucky person up front who had one of the band members grab your camera phone and record video from the stage – PLEASE POST THAT VIDEO ONLINE ASAP AND LINK ME TO IT!