TVD Live Shots: Yeasayer at the 9:30 Club, 5/16

The first hint that the evening was going to be different was learning that we photographers were being allotted six songs to shoot instead of the standard three. Why? There was no official photo pit. At the 9:30 Club it’s not uncommon to have to scrap with the fans to get your shots. What is very uncommon is having the bands recognize that this can be a hindrance and try to make it up to you. Very unexpected and generous.

Yeasayer were off to a solid start, opening with the mid-tempo “Half Asleep” from their new album Amen & Goodbye. And then the wheels came off. There was some confusion on stage as to why they weren’t rolling into “Gerson’s Whistle” as expected.

Frontman Chris Keating fiddled with his laptop and accompanying sound gear, sparking a fan behind me to utter “I think they’re trying to tap into the Matrix.” Well, the Matrix was broken and Yeasayer handled it like total pros. Relaxed, affable, and more amused than annoyed, Keating gave the audience a choice, “Either we take a five-minute break to fix things or we wing it.” Unsurprisingly, the vote to wing it was unanimous.

In between songs, Baltimore native Keating gushed about his love for the 9:30, and how when he was a kid he would stand stage left, as close as he could to the speakers, and gawk at the performers. He was so genuinely pleased to be performing on that particular stage. For him and the rest of the band, it seemed as though the technical malfunction and the resulting setlist shake-up gave them room to loosen up, setting a warm, humorous, and in-the-moment tone for the rest of the night.

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