YACHT at Crescent Ballroom, 6/14/12
Summer usually finds us in the concert doldrums. There are some good shows here and there, but mostly we opt for pool parties and air conditioning while eagerly awaiting fall. This hasn't really been the case this year thanks to a concert calendar full of artists that don't play in Phoenix that often, which is why I'd like to call last night's YACHT show Santigold Part Two.
The Portland-based cult-pop crew and Santi don't have a lot in common beyond making music that people in skinny jeans love to dance horribly to, but that's what was so amazing about both shows -- the fact that people did get up to (horribly) dance in a sold-out venue while staring a beautifully strange and energetic woman in the face.
YACHT sounds like what would happen if James Murphy produced The B-52's. The Portland electropop/new wave band is on Murphy's label, DFA Records, and Evans sort resembles a mix of Debbie Harry and Annie Lennox in their prime.
The group's performance focused more on dancing and having a good time than its inherent weirdness -- YACHT is an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology, the band has a stringent tattoo policy, and a lengthy manifesto. The three men in the band wore black and Evans sported a white fishnet top with a black bra underneath.
But looking back on Thursday night's set, what stands out most is Evans wading through the crowd during "The Afterlife," a girl bumping her knee while trying to stand on the bleachers to dance, and hearing the crowd shout along lyrics of "Psychic City (Voodoo City)."
YACHT had its quirks, but didn't always live up to its clearly kooky potential. Evans asked who had seen what she described as the most-observed extraterrestrial phenomenon in history in "the late '80s or early '90s," the Phoenix Lights (which happened in 1997). A good amount of people raised their hands or cheered, and she accused some of bullshitting because, after all, it was a pretty young crowd. Her accusation was done in jest because "we believe in extraterrestrial life and we hope you do too."