The Liver-Eating Johnson of indie music -- especially of moody dance-rock -- Yeasayer put on such a performance that one needn't see it all (or one could miss the first 25 minutes, like me) and still be blown away by how insanely good they are. OK, they don't lose it like Johnson, but they do go nuts.
Chris Keating and Anand Wilder have a smooth swagger of demi sex gods and the fist-clenching passion of ministers on XTC. Add in unique effects on proficient guitar and a load of snyth sounds and you have the makings of concert gold.
And the tunes hold up to the stage presence. After saying what a beautiful state Utah was, and then making some sort of half-assed joke about his Bruce Springsteen accent, which fell flat on everyone, Keating led the band into "Wait for Summer" -- one of several classics I had hoped to hear. Among the others were "2080" -- which whipped the crowd into a frenzy, with one fan seated on his friend's shoulders right in front of the stage -- "Ambling Alp" and finally "Tightrope" during the encore.
Although the lights -- three tiers of them, including floorboard behind-the-band LEDs -- were a spectacular sight, adding to the dance music, I can't help but feel like Salt Lake City missed out. After reading this article, I'm left wondering where the video team was and also the 3-D projections.
But, in the end, it wasn't necessary. The new songs, which mark a darker sound and dancier production, were the surprise moments of the show. "Reagan's Skeleton," halfway through what I saw, was the best-articulated and performed song of the night. "Henrietta," "Devil and the Deed" and "Longevity" also demonstrated the new sound: Force twists R&B through a '80s dance blender and adds in a bit of layered, bump-and-grind beats, broils it all to real-fucking hot, then tops with some sophisticated, broody lyrics: Voila! There you have Fragrant World.
Full disclosure: I am in no state to be out at a show tonight: The Utah Beer Festival yesterday became today's all-day hangover. I should be at home licking my wounds.
Best overhead quote: "I just think, dude, that they have this whole hidden catalog that I can't even hear. Like, it's out there, but I just can't find it or something. Yeah ... I don't know."
Random notebook dump: I thought this was 18-and-up, not 14-and-up. Wait, at what age are you too insecure to dance, anyway?
Thermometer reading: It was fucking hot ... and humid.
Best pre-concert Tweet: @Yeasayer: For two tickets to in the venue tonight! Who directed Utah filmed movie based on Liver-Eating Johnson?
For more information on Liver-Eating Johnson: Check this shit out.