EMA, Mas Ysa, YUS - Crescent Ballroom - 6/28/14
Melissa Fossum EMA performed at the Crescent Ballroom Saturday night.
I'm not sure what went wrong with this show. All the bands were talented, smart individuals, yet it seemed like no one could be bothered to even pretend to be interested. First, this gig started off with tickets around $7, but Crescent Ballroom made the event free, presumably because they couldn't sell enough tickets. That encouraged a pretty good crowd, but they did not seem focused at all.
This was YUS's first show in two years -- I remember seeing him with oOoOO in 2012. Back then, he was just playing on a laptop with a mixing board. Now he has a guitarist/percussionist and a backup singer. It was their first show, so you can't blame them for being a little rusty.
Melissa Fossum YUS
YUS himself was elegant, however, almost robotic. That might sound stiff, but because he's human, there will always be a slight degree of error in his musicianship. YUS played "Nowadays" and several other tracks off his new album, Talisman, but I mostly heard people talking or on their cell phones. I'm hoping he plays around more now.
Melissa Fossum Mas Ysa
Mas Ysa was a different story. Here was a guy in sweatpants and an oversized white shirt jumping up and down barefoot over "Sarah McLaughlin beats" (he described them that way). His setup was a table crammed with DJ gear and a microphone. He said he was going to "cry all over everything" for us and I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not, because the way he sang was warble-y and whiny, and he did sound almost ready to cry. I couldn't understand this at all, so in my head I pretended I was not here to see music but instead some bizarre performance art from Paris or Copenhagen, and then it made like a small amount of sense.
EMA was gracious for the amount of folks that showed up. Granted, for a Saturday night it wasn't much, but it was still a healthy draw. Folks seemed blasé and bored and didn't dance -- as usual -- but EMA performed wonderfully.
The stage was set with fake potted plants and LED boards lit by a saturated blue beam. It kind of looked like a newsroom or the set of Between Two Ferns, looking surreal and inviting. Goopy fog pumped from a smoke machine and greens lasers danced in it.
EMA herself wore large, round sunglasses, and her blonde hair covered her face. In fact, she's so good at blending in that my friend nudged me in the ribs and said, "That's the girl I bummed a smoke from outside!" No wonder she laughed at him when she gave him a menthol.