Saturday, June 2, 2012
Better Than: Watching a PowerPoint seminar ... in a classroom.
At 12:04 a.m. on Saturday night, a little piece of dance heaven landed at Bardot. It arrived from Portland, Los Angeles, and Texas after more than 200 miles of driving and about 58 ounces of coffee.
Ultimately, though, the mission was accomplished. And Yacht succeeded in creating a "Temporary Autonomous Zone" at the Midtown Miami party spot.
We arrived at the venue a little after 10:30 p.m., only to find Bardot the emptiest we'd ever seen it. Oh yeah, Miami Time was in full effect. At least, that meant choice seating was still available near the stage for opening act, Onuinu.
A two-man band with drums and guitar from Portland, Oregon, this duo's sound combines chillwave and post-punk. A little like Washed Out from two years ago, the twosome's looping beats and choruses, mellow melodies, and danceable pep seemed to keep the crowd entertained enough.
A few minutes after midnight, the venue filled to the brim and a one-minute countdown was projected onto the wall above the stage. Frontwoman Claire Evans stood on the sidelines, waving her arms to the intro music while wearing her usual head-to-toe white outfit, including white Doc Marten combat boots. Meanwhile, as heavy guitar riffs shook the amps, frontman Jona Bechtolt climbed on one of the VIP section tables, and Yacht began performing with quite possibly the highest energy we've ever seen from a band.
The set began with "Paradise Engineering." And as soon as they finished, Jona and Claire shouted "Miami!" in unison and both took off their jackets. "How are you all so good looking?" Claire asked. "I have one question: Are you going to eat our faces? Because I'm okay with it," Jona followed.
The frontwoman and frontman had no problem sharing the lead reigns. But Jona was the obvious star of the evening.
He switched between guitar, keyboard, and drums throughout the night, as the rest of the band seemed to be playing musical chairs. Each of Yacht's four members switched instruments, had their own respective solos, and rotated around the stage.
Every song was more danceable than the last. And as they began performing "Afterlife," Claire took it upon herself to bless certain members of the crowd (New Times web editor, Jose Duran, among them), climbing on couches and staring straight at them before placing her hand directly on their heads and pushing them back as if they'd been leveled by the power and energy of Yacht.
"Miami, how are you doing in your human lives?" Jona asked. Then the PowerPoint-like presentation began. Yes, a lecture at a dance-y concert.
A nice little map of the United States appeared, followed by arrows pointing to each member's hometown. There were statistics about how long it took them to arrive, and a zoom-in to Florida, then Miami, right before they set the whole map on fire.
"None of this matters. We're currently located in a Temporary Autonomous Zone --T.A.Z.," Claire continued. "We are all the citizens. The only space is here. You don't have to do anything, because it's all already happening." Woah. Pretty deep for a dance party.
Yacht sifted through the hits pretty quickly, jumping from riotous show-stoppers like "It's Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want" to less well known tracks like "Waste of Time," a B-side off of the Psychic City single.
Most of the setlist came from the band's See Mystery Lights album from 2009, peppered with tracks from latest effort, Shangri-La. All of the grunts and oohs and ahhs translated well to the live performance, and Yacht definitely proved that it's one of those bands that just sounds better in person.
And as if the energy wasn't strong enough, trippy videos were projected behind the band. Flames, robots, and Claire and Jona as zombies seemed to be the biggest hits, adding to the vibe and overall tone of the evening. Some care-free fun for weirdos who wanna dance.
The crowd was packed like a can of sardines, though, making it pretty hard to perform a proper shoulder shake. But that didn't stop anyone. And exactly one hour after Yacht took to the stage, they left us, half exhausted, and half heartbroken that it was all over.
Personal Bias: I have a serious weakness for very danceable live bands that love interacting with the audience.
The Crowd: Lots of 20- and 30-somethings, the usual Bardot crowd.
By the way: Concert etiquette dictates that if you bump into someone, step on them, or stick your nail in their eye unintentionally, the polite thing to do is to apologize, not just shrug it off.
-"It's Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want"
-"I Walked Alone"
-"Tripped and Fell in Love"
-"I'm in Love With a Ripper"
-"Waste of Time"
-"Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire)"
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