LIVE! Review: tUnE-yArDs (MHOW 12/4/14)

12/05/2014 T4L 0 Comments


Fresh back from touring her 2014 album “nikki nack” in Europe, Merrill Garbus and her tUnE-yArDs did not disappoint.  During the first of a four night attack on Williamsburg, Garbus and her crew put on just the spectacle you’d imagine their music would require. 

The stage decorations and costumes appeared to be designed by Maurice Sendak’s(RIP) mushroom-tripping ghost.  Randomly placed felt eyes and fangs all hung from a bright magenta curtain behind the band.  Garbus’s pair of backup singers looked like they were trying to seduce Satan. Between the Frida Khalo unibrow on one, the seance-like dance moves of the two, and the actual nonsensical noises that they sing, it was clear that they have the most fun job in the entire world.  Garbus’s own outfit was a leather and sequin coat of armor.  I heard someone say she looks “like Lena Dunham in 20 years” (whatever the fuck that means), regardless, she was rockin it. 


The bizarre stage decorations and outfits did two things.  First, they made me thankful I wasn’t even a little bit high or I’d have been terrified, and more importantly, complimented the bands’ own eccentric sound.  If you haven’t listened yet, be warned that its something different.  The frequent tempo-changes and Merrill’s sing-speaking can be jarring at first listen, and if you are addicted to falling into a 4/4 pop rhythm (looking at you JB), you might even say it can be abrasive.


Garbus and bassist Nate Brenner are the only permanently credited band members, but the crew featured a drummer, the two backup witches, and a pair of saxophones that would occasionally pop on and off the stage.  Garbus loves to loop ukulele lines over wood-block-heavy percussion before she gets going on the mic.  Brenner rocked the coolest Hawaiian shirt while he spanked out bass-lines of differing intensities and one dopppppe UFO themed synth solo.  The two saxes went nuts on perhaps the most anticipated track of the night “bizness.”   


Favorite Tracks: Real Thing, Bizness 


Though I’m a sucker for a pop song,I really enjoyed the performance that Merill and Co. put on.  During “Interlude: Why do we dine on the tots?,” (Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s a Modest Proposal (shoutout to ma english majors)),  Merill narrated while the two backup wildthings acted out a skit.  tUnE-yArDs really is as much a show as it is a concert.  If you’re looking for Something to do this weekend be sure to check them out. 
Hats off to the (B)and.