Yeasayer – June 1st – The Ogden

All Photos by Tim Dwenger

The Scene: When we walked up to the Ogden around 9:15 there was a distinct buzz in the air as the smokers crammed together in the smoking area and those waiting in line for will call anxiously checked their watches.  While the show wasn’t sold out when we went in, I wouldn’t be surprised if it sold-out at the door just before Yeasayer took the stage as there was barely any breathing room in the theater.  18 and 19 year olds, who were no doubt sucked in by the bands breakout hit “Ambling Alp,” crammed in right alongside those of us who had seen Yeasayer open for MGMT at the Hi-Dive three years ago (read our review here).   It was a packed house and everyone was expecting a top notch show.

Yeasayer: When the house lights at The Ogden went down at about 9:45, the crowd exploded thinking Yeasayer were on their way to the stage.  As people scrambled to find their spot wedged in closely next to friends and strangers, they soon figured out that they were in for a little bit of a wait.  As “Goodbye Horses” played over the PA, people chattered a bit and as the last notes died out I distinctly heard someone yell “music’s over, come out already!”  Chris Keating and his bandmates accomodated the request and walked out onto the darkened stage waving to the crowd that was surging forward against the barrier that kept them from the lip of the stage.

The band took their places and the familiar introduction to “Madder Red,” from their most recent album Odd Blood, filled the air.  When they broke into the singsong harmonies that dominate the chorus of the song it was clear that the vocals were going to be one of many highlights of the show.  At times lit from behind, the band became part of the elaborate light show that enhanced the spacey psych-pop sound that was churning the air around us.

While the show focused on material from Odd Blood, the band took time to unveil several new songs they are working on for their third album throughout the course of the set.  The highlight of the new material was the darkly electronic “The Devil and the Deed” which they recently performed on Conan and is one of the few tunes that featured guitarist Anand Wilder on lead vocals.

One thing that became increasingly more and more clear as the show went on was that the sound was pretty spectacular.  As spacey synth effects and loops panned from left to right and back again, the low frequencies pummeled the audience into moving their bodies in whatever awkward way they could, no matter who they might rub up against.  This communal dance party was taken to the next level when the band absolutely slayed the middle eastern flavored “Rome.”

After running through “Wait for Summer” and “Sunrise,” two of the better tunes from their debut album All Hour Cymbals Keating announced to the dismay of the sweaty masses that they only had one song left and that everyone should sing along.  The loudest cheers of the evening reverberated around the room when they kicked into “Ambling Alp,” and just about everyone happily sang loudly and passionately as if the words rang true to their hearts.

And with that, they were gone.  50 minutes after they had come on, they walked unapologetically into the wings of the stage.  Sure, they came back for the obligatory encore that included another standout track from All Hour Cymbals “2080,” but then they were really done.  Just a little over an hour for a band that has two albums and is working on a third?  I understand short sets from new bands that are just getting their foot in the door and may only have an albums worth of material, but from a band with this kind of draw and name recognition, it just doesn’t make sense.  One thing is for sure.  Yeasayer left everyone in The Ogden wanting more last night, so take that for what it’s worth.

Energy: A-
Sound: A
Musicianship: A-
Stage Presence: A-
Set/Light Show: A

Overall: A-


Who Is Timothy Dwenger

Music has always been a part of my life. It probably all started listening to old Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel records that my parents had, but it wasn't long before they were taking me to concerts like Starship, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Huey Lewis & The News. I got the bug to write about music after reviewing an Eric Clapton concert for a creative writing project in high school but didn't really take it up seriously until 2002. Since then I have published countless articles in The Marquee Magazine and done some work for, SPIN Magazine, and various other outlets. I started Listen Up Denver! as a way to share the music information that is constantly spilling out of my head with people who care. Please enjoy!