Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nothing Gross about Yuck's Performance at TT's

Yuck’s self-titled debut was my favorite record at the halfway point of the year and has managed to maintain that position ever since. Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows my affinity for 90s alternative and no one captures the golden age of that sound like Yuck. Having seen an impressive set at SXSW earlier in the year, I was ready to see them in a more intimate setting at TT The Bear’s on September 22nd. The group just released the deluxe version of their debut which includes a disc containing six additional tracks. They played several of these at the show and left a permanent impression on everyone who was in attendance.

The opening band was Boston’s Mean Creek. They played an alternative rock style that had a very pleasing folk influence and a dash of country twang. The songs were driven by the dual guitar/vocal combination of Chris Keene and Aurore Ounjian and rounded out with a rhythm section that was more than capable of putting the necessary power behind their expressive sound. I was ashamed that I had not heard such a great local act before that night. However, I was immediately made a fan when I heard the haunting yelp of “The Comedian” and I will be keeping an eye out for them in the future. Before leaving the stage, the band made sure to let the audience know that Yuck were their “favorite band since Nirvana” which brought the anticipation to a boiling point.

You could tell there is something special about Yuck by the unparalleled level of excitement coming from the sold-out crowd. The band came out and got right to business, rocking “Holing Out” in front of a hand painted banner. Ironically, this was the song I complained about missing in my review of their show at SXSW. They continued to play favorites like “The Wall,” “Shook Down,” and “Georgia” with a melancholy composure that brought to mind the early days of The Smashing Pumpkins. They brought things down a bit with “Suicide Policeman” before picking it back up with their more accessible new songs including “Milkshake” and “Cousin Corona.” One of the tracks that had the audience especially excited was my personal favorite, “Operation,” which brings their Sonic Youth influence to the forefront.

They ended the set with “Rubber,” which is one of the most epic closers you will ever hear live. It’s an incredible song that the band has in its arsenal and is so powerful that I can’t picture it being played anywhere else in the set. The blaringly loud shoegaze guitars wash over the crowd like a giant wave of distortion crashing into a sea of eardrums with cries of “Should I give in?” and “Yes, I give in.” After obliterating the crowd with such ear-splitting force, I have never seen an audience try so hard to get a band back out for an encore. After a good 5-10 minutes straight of chanting for the band, it was evident that they weren’t coming out but I don’t think anyone was left unsatisfied. At a time when every band seemed to have some kind a gimmick, Yuck harkens back to a time when a rock band was simply a rock band. They are here simply to play and have nothing to prove. Yuck is perfect for anyone wishing they could have seen Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth in their infancy and they are filling that void stupendously.

Cousin Corona by Yuck

Soothe Me by Yuck

Shook Down / Milkshake by Yuck

Yuck singles by Yuck

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