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Friday, September 14, 2012

Point/Counterpoint: YACHT is Better Without the Theatrics

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Sorry for this crappy phone photo of YACHT and their flaming triangle.

YACHT is the band that taught me how to dance. I look ridiculous when I dance, but YACHT in 2004 was the first show that drew me out from the back wall to the center of the dance floor, encouraged mostly by how positive, adorable, approachable, and crazy Jona Bechtolt looked onstage with his laptop and spastic movements—no way would I be the most ridiculous looking person in the room, despite my self-conscious arm-flailing that could only loosely be categorized as "dance."

I've seen YACHT three times since then, including last night's barnburner of show at the Crystal Ballroom with Hot Chip. Each show with YACHT has been kookier and more mystical than the last, building up a cultish aesthetic of triangles, anchors, and smiley faces and a live show that's much more theatrical than just a dude playing beats from a laptop.

This led to a debate last night.

POINT (argued by me): YACHT's more-theatrical show is just as good as the old, stripped-down YACHT shows. It's just different.

COUNTERPOINT (made by some guy I was talking to in my friend's backyard before the show, who was skipping YACHT in favor of just seeing Hot Chip): The over-the-topness of the show detracts from the best part of the band, Jona's beats. The aesthetic is distractingly absurd.

POINT ARGUMENT #1: Having flaming triangles projected onstage doesn't detract from the music. You can still dance just as well to YACHT now as you ever could. It's brighter and bigger and has more of a budget, but the music is still entirely the same at heart: Super fun, super catchy, super original good-time pop that you can't help but move to.

COUNTERPOINT ARGUMENT #1: But Jona's beats are so good! They should really just stick with that. The rest of this stuff—the lasers, the weird projected movies, the triangle obsession—is unnecessary and too stagey.

POINT ARGUMENT #2: I think what's bugging you is not that the change in visual aesthetic, but the fact that the show is at the Crystal Ballroom, not someone's basement. YACHT is, of course, better in a basement with 40 people rather than up onstage at the Crystal with 500 or whatever. You've got nostalgia for that simpler time.

COUNTERPOINT ARGUMENT #2: Nah, the Crystal is fine, it's good to hear their music that loud. All the campiness of the stage show just turns me off.

ARGUMENT CONCLUSION: Unresolved. I had a great time at the show, though.

Meanwhile. Hot Chip, the headliner, was inarguably excellent. Hot Chip is a show best watched with your eyes closed. The stage was all super-bright strobes and high-powered colored lights, and down in the sweaty mess of a dance floor it was the kind of show where you could lose yourself in yourself. When aliens invade, I hope this is what it feels like.


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