As Yeasayer took the stage for their encore at the Ogden Theatre last night, I was hoping for redemption. What I got instead was another unrecognizable composition; an electronic tribal jam from the future about faith and patience, two things I had given up on a half hour earlier. Having abandoned my post up front (among the underage revelers with their big black X’s and rainbow painted cheeks) at the end of the main set, I was witness to other disappointed faces leaving the venue earlier than expected. The band from Brooklyn was not bad, they just weren’t good enough. Every great song was followed by an unknown or ‘not-so-great’ song, denying the band (and the crowd) the momentum they both deserved. The more experimental Odd Blood material failed to resonate with the All Hour Cymbals fans, the All Hour Cymbals tracks failed to resonate with the Odd Blood fans and the new stuff failed to resonate with anyone. Even the band members lacked any enthusiasm during ‘restroom/beer break’ songs like Henrietta and Devil and the Deed. Pretty sad for a show that started so strong.
If you follow this blog you know negativity has no place here, but I do have to state my honest opinion. I will try to keep this post short and accentuate the positive. First off, the show did start strong, real strong. At 9:50pm the instrumental The Children introduced the band much the way it introduces last year’s phenomenal ‘psychedelic-electronic’ experiment. The neon lights lit up Madder Red before they surprised with the song that made me a fan in the first place, Tightrope (from Dark Was The Night). They gave it like they couldn’t give no more and then…they didn’t. After confusing the audience with a monologue about how Denver feels like home because they have been here 8 times for this album (pretty sure it’s only been once), Henrietta sucked the energy out of the overcrowded venue, causing the communal dancing to turn to pushing and shoving and pogoing and general irritation. Even the excellent O.N.E (and it was excellent) couldn’t turn stop the tide of unwelcome negativity raising up in the collective consciousness of the crowd. In my opinion The Devil and the Deed crushed all hope that this would live up to the Bluebird show.
Not being a fan of their earlier work, I wasn’t impressed with most of the songs from All Hour Cymbals, but based on the reaction of the crowd, there were a lot of old school fans in the house. It was nice to see them get their time in the sun, it’s just too bad their smiles weren’t contagious. The hour-long main set ended with Ambling Alp, as it did last time I saw them. Putting on virtual blinders, I transported myself back to that show of yesteryear and was able to channel some of that energy and enjoy the song despite my disappointment.
Looking back I’m trying to pinpoint why the performance was such a letdown. Was it the crowd? Was it the setlist? Were they just having an off night? And if so, how were they able to hide it so well for the first 10 minutes? Was it the new material? Was it the fact that they were so unconvincing when talking about their love for Denver? I have never heard a band claim ‘this is the best show of the tour’ with such a lack of conviction…it was almost offensive.
In respect to the band that released one of my favorite albums last year and to the fans who did enjoy the show last night, I want to leave this review on a positive note…so I will say 2080 kicked ass! I don’t even care for that song and it still got me moving. It did provide an impressive end to the show. We left the venue just after 11:00pm and I am happy we went. Based on past experience I had expected much more, but for $15 and a little over an hour of my time, the highlights were worth rest…