Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ BAM



This year’s Sounds Like Brooklyn festival took place in a bunch of venues all over the borough. Two of the main performances took place at the Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and featured performances by Beirut, Kaki King, Chairlift and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

It’s always fun to see bands in a venue I do not usually frequent, even if ultimately it’s a little disappointing and I realize that maybe Radio City Music Hall is not for everyone (i.e. Modest Mouse). As the BAM opera house show approached I was especially excited for the seated ticketing. See, with seats you don’t have to show up early or pass the time listening to terrible bands just to secure a somewhat decent spot. And seats also guarantee you— no surprise here—your very own place to sit down. For as long as you want. And nobody will step on you or take your seat if you go the bathroom. And you can sit on your coat and not have to carry the thing all night, while cursing winter the entire time. I guess I’ve just been standing at shows a lot and I have come to appreciate a good seat these days.

And I was very excited to be in Row F, right near the stage. I had purchased my tickets early and was all ready to sit up close and bask in my seated glory. Last year I somehow ended up with second row tickets to The National’s performance at BAM, so I knew what a great show I was in for. When I presented my ticket to the man with the scanner he directed me up the stairs. Um, excuse me, what was that, sir? Stairs? What is this about stairs? I did ask about the ladies room. Surely that’s why he directed me to the stairs. But then I looked more closely at the ticket. MEZZANINE! What?? For the past couple of months I had sworn I had orchestra seats. I guess I never really looked that closely at the ticket.

So we took our seats in the mezzanine and listened to Chairlift. They play that catchy handstands song called “Bruises” in an iPod Nano commercial, but other than that I didn’t know anything about them. I did learn that they formed their band in Boulder, CO in order to create music for haunted houses. I liked this bit of trivia, and was impressed that they put it in the first line of their bio. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it out of my head the entire set, so I kept assessing the music for its spookiness factor. In the end, they weren’t bad, but nothing about them made much of an impression. This leads me to wonder if they will fall prey to the curse of the Apple commercial. Which reminds me, does anyone know where Yael Naim is these days??

Anyway, when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came out they quickly invited all the people in the orchestra area to move up to the front. So, in one instant I went from MEZZANINE??? WTF*@#? to “Thank god for the Mezzanine!” Unfortunately those poor people who actually had Row F tickets in the orchestra were swarmed by a bunch of overzealous fans, so they probably had to stand the whole night.

Not that standing is bad. I have to admit that I felt a little distanced from the show. A rock concert is meant to be experienced pretty close to the stage. And there I was just sitting there on my queen’s throne looking lazy, content and entertained. Though I did have to stand up a bunch of times to let people from my row pass by throughout the show (note to self: aisle seats at a concert are more annoying than useful). And then there were the three people sitting in front of me who occasionally blocked my view. When they left after Chairlift performed I secretly hoped they would choose not to return. Well, they did come back, but in a wonderful display of divine concert intervention they realized they had been in the wrong seats and ended up sitting a few seats down, leaving a totally unobstructed view for me.

And oh yeah, there was music. And it was good. The band played a bunch of new songs, too, so I look forward to hearing their next album. I initially bought Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s self-titled album on a whim after a friend had mentioned something about them. I had no idea what to expect and after first listen, I accepted the sad fact that I had wasted my ten dollars. Oh well. You win some, you lose some…and some surprisingly grow on you (?) Yes! After spending some more time listening to the album I found that I was hooked. And they have so many great songs, that the concert was just one good song after another. Their songs are great live. I wouldn’t say they are better (because the albums are really good), so maybe I should just say they are enhanced, or maybe just brought to life. I would have danced a bit, but then the guy behind me would have to stand up, and the guy behind him, and the guy behind him, and so on until the entire section was forced to stand. And I wasn’t going to be responsible for that.

I also did not take any pictures because I do follow the rules occasionally. But there are pix on Brooklyn Vegan.


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