Yuck Rudyard's February 6, 2014
There were a few possible reasons for Houstonians to stay indoors last night: Not only was it the first televised night of the Winter Olympics, but it was also uncharacteristically frigid outside (at least by Houston standards). Nevertheless, Houston's hip weren't phased, as Rudyard's was packed with fans awaiting London shoegazers Yuck.
It'd been three years (to the day) since we'd last seen Yuck in Houston, when they opened for Smith Westerns at Fitzgerald's. This time around, however, Yuck's lineup reflected their recent shuffle: guitarist Max Bloom now fronts the band, after their former front man Daniel Blumberg left the group last year.
According to Bloom, he's had some time to prepare for the transition to front man - which might be why he seemed like a natural (although we did spy him nursing some Throat Coat tea before the show).
Yuck's set list was heavy with songs from their latest release Glow & Behold. Opener "Middle Sea" proved that although Yuck's vocal sound has changed, the essence of the band - their uniquely dreamy '90s-esque guitar tone - is still in tact.
The band looked intrinsically hip. Bassist Mariko Doi could be an Urban Outfitters model, with thick bangs veiling her eyes, while drummer Jonny Rogoff's massive Afro was the band's unofficial fifth member. The newest member, guitarist Ed Hayes, fit in flawlessly.
"Get Away," from Yuck's 2011 self-titled debut, was a highlight of the set, during which Bloom's guitar tone was particularly perfect. I was pleased to see the band still playing tunes that were co-written with Blumberg - some older songs originally sung by Blumberg didn't sound much different with Bloom on lead vocals, actually. Doi tackled lead vocals during "The Wall" - a cool change that spurred a brief crowd-surfing stint.
The crowd was also treated to a brand-new unreleased song, which Bloom explained will be on a forthcoming EP.
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As their set neared its end, Yuck had some fun tackling the New Order classic "Age of Consent." (Those who attended Built to Spill's most recent Houston show will remember they also covered this particular tune.) The cover lightened the mood, and ignited an impromptu dance party within the crowd.
Yuck song "Operation" closed the set, as Bloom briefly but bravely plunged into the crowd, guitar and all. Though it'd have been cool to bow out on such a high note, the crowd demanded an encore.
"I fucking love Houston," Bloom exclaimed, walking back onstage, clearly enthused by the crowd's support.
Dreamy Glow track "Memorial Fields" started the encore, while the upbeat "Georgia" closed out the night.
With the departure of their founding front man, the addition of a new member, and a massive regrouping, it's been a tumultuous year for Yuck - but they're pulling it off. During our interview last week, Bloom himself referred to the group as "a band in transition." But if all great changes are indeed preceded by chaos, Yuck just might be on the right track.
Personal Bias "Shook Down" would've been nice.
The Crowd: Houston's coolest -- and coldest. Lots of layer-clad dudes.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Keep Houston Shitty!"
Random Notebook Dump: I appreciated the early '90s R&B played between sets. Thanks, Rudz.
Middle Sea Holding Out Lose My Breath Out Of Time Get Away Rebirth Nothing New New song (untitled) Another One The Wall Age of Consent (New Order cover) Operation
Memorial Fields Georgia
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