With Otto Von Schriach and a DJ set by Juan MacLean
Friday, June 13, 2014
Toejam Backlot, Wynwood, Miami
Better Than: Free beer.
Before the recession hit, it seemed parties thrown by beer and spirits companies were the norm in Miami. They would put on these extremely elaborate events and book amazing acts to perform, purely for the purposes of "brand awareness."
But the best thing about these events: They were always 100-percent free -- as long as you scored an invite, which wasn't exactly hard to do.
Well, over the weekend, Heineken decided to introduce Miami to its new tequila-flavored beer, Desperados. I can see how the beer would appeal to consumers who need to drink something on a very hot day -- or night.
Yes, Miami summers are back and Friday night was a scorcher. Just standing idly was enough to cause sweating.
But to fight the crazy summer temperatures, the Desperados folks had equipped the main room at Toejam Backlot with Kryogenifex nitrogen tanks that blast the entire room with when things got too hot.
It seemed to amaze the night's headliners, YACHT, who hadn't ever seen such a system. "Do you guys really like that thing?" asked Jona Bechtolt.
Yes, Jona, it's an essential Miami summer nightlife staple.
YACHT last played Miami in October for the III Points Festival -- and countless other times before that.
But it was refreshing to see Bechtolt and frontlady Claire L. Evans live and free of the trappings of having to promote a new album. Instead, the setlist felt like YACHT's greatest hits, anchored by the band's last two full-lengths and its recent single-only releases.
While YACHT has always done its own visuals, the group got some assistance from local artists the TM Sisters, leaving only one thing to worry over: playing music. The band's cultish religious cues also seemed to take a back seat this time around, with a more straightforward approach to performance that was still as good as ever.
Appearing as a quartet, I suddenly realized how many indie hits YACHT's Bechtolt and Evans have under their belt -- from the sing-along chorus of "Psychic City" to the frantic speed of "Utopia" to the Moroder-esque "Second Summer."
With LCD Soundsystem put to bed, there is valid argument that the band is DFA Records' strongest current asset. And yet I don't see critics putting Bechtolt or Claire L. Evans in the same pantheon as James Murphy, and I sometimes wonder why.
Lately, YACHT has been eschewing the album format in favor of single-only releases -- although the band says it's working on another full-length.
Those tracks were all on display, including "Party at the NSA," which kicked off the show, as well as "Plastic Soul" and the Brigitte Fontaine cover, "Le Goudron."
These recent cuts have shown that YACHT's as much a concept band -- which is heavily on display with its album work -- as it is a singles band.
Even when full-lengths like See Mystery Lights and Shangri-La work as a whole, there are still plenty of tracks that can stand on their own.
And although Miami got an abbreviated 45-minute show, YACHT kept the energy up even as the temperature rose. Evans looked androgynous as ever, wearing a '90s Gwen Stefani halter top with the words "Tomboy" on it. And Bechtolt, who is still very much the band's leader, seems more comfortable these days hanging in the background, letting Evans take control of the crowd.
YACHT is simply a DFA powerhouse.
-"Party at the NSA"
-"Beam Me Up"
-"Dsytopia (The Earth Is on Fire)"
-"I Walked Alone"
-"Tripped and Fell in Love"
-"Le Goudron" (Brigitte Fontaine cover)
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