Leave it to a new buzz band to beat the turnout for the legendary Swans at the same venue less than a week later and practically quadruple audience feedback. Last night at Beachland Ballroom, Tune-Yards turned in a 65-minute set heavy on highlights.
Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus graced the stage to lay the groundwork drum loops of an unreleased live staple "Party Can (Do You Want to Live?)" before Nate Brenner stepped in to provide the bassline. From the start, the crowd was more than eager to chime-in on the emphatic "yeah!" callbacks the song encourages.
From there, the band ripped through much of the new whokill, which is leaps and bounds better than the debut album, and one of this year's finest.
Garbus alternated between fashioning drum and vocal loops to her ukulele, while Brenner split between bass and drums. This tour adds a saxophone section — specifically alto and tenor sax — to round out the exuberant sound, and proved most dexterous on the game-changing single "Bizness."
Tune-Yards presented themselves like a glam marching band with a keen globe-trotting prowess. Aware of Garbus' affinity for facepaint, many crowd members used this as an excuse to spot their faces as they saw fit.
But the audience really was quite varied and eager to cheer the tiniest details, from the first inclusion of sax to Brenner spitting a single line during the encore of "My Country."
The real surprise didn't come from the only older track "Fiya" or even how well this young band presented itself onstage. It came by way of a new song that hinted at a more ambitious sound reminiscient of Steely Dan, though primarily in form.
But I wouldn't expect Tune-Yards to take a major detour just yet, especially considering the surplus of fan and critical praise coming their way. —Michael Tkach