by Jaime Lees
This is not the review I expected to write. It pains me to say it, but the Yuck show was kind of, well, meh. Now, I've spent the better part of this year talking up this band. Yuck's self-titled debut is absolutely my favorite album of the year. I've rocked that album on the daily since about February. If you know me, and we like the same tunes, it's likely that I burned you a copy of that album. In fact, I probably owe Yuck about $300 considering how many copies of that album that I've given out in the Midwest area. But I get excited about good bands. And when I think you might like it, too, I get really excited.
Sadly, the Yuck show was a disappointment. As much as I hoped that the live show would be as beautiful and life enriching as the album, there were some causes for concern. I'd seen some videos of live performances, and they seemed kind of lackluster. I'd sent friends in other cities to see the band, and they reported that the it was sub par. Undeterred, I rolled out a whole range of excuses. I told myself that the band members are young, they've barely toured, and they're under a lot of pressure as an up-and-coming "it" band.
But after seeing them last night I can report this: Yuck is the Lloyd Dobler of bands. Totally dreamy in theory, but weird in real life. (I mean, seriously, Lloyd Dobler was kind of a stalker. The hottest stalker ever, but a stalker nonetheless.) The songs ware still there, but the execution was all off. The Firebird probably has the one of the best sound systems of any venue in St. Louis, but you wouldn't know it. It was all drums, the whole set. The sweet guitar melodies and the harmonizing vocals were all there, but they were totally drowned out by snare crash and cymbal clang. I walked around the decently crowded room, trying to find a place where the sound was less harsh, but there was no sweet spot to be found.
The sound got shockingly better at the end of the set with "Operation" and extendo-jam closer "Rubber." The only difference between these songs and the others was volume. The band members had turned around and cranked up the amps in preparation for rockitude. They were suddenly louder and more loose, clearly feeling what they were playing for the first time all night.
Still, I'm full of excuses. Maybe Yuck was just having an off night? The members seemed sweet enough when they spoke between songs, taking care to ask the crowd the final score of the all-important Cardinals game. During one of the set breaks, they mentioned that they were bummed because their van had just been broken into. My heart sank. Was Yuck going to be added to the long list of touring bands who have had their property stolen while in town? A quick check of the band's Twitter account revealed Chicago thugs as the culprits. Booya.
So conditions might not have been the best. Morale might have been low. Spirits dampened. It wasn't a bad show, it just wasn't the best show ever -- and I thought it would be. And maybe my expectations were too high, but I think Yuck can do better. I will not waiver in my devotion. The album is still freakin' perfect, and I'll probably listen to it again today. Though our first date kind of sucked, we are still meant for each other. I still wanna have Yuck's babies. I hope they come back to town so we can try again.