Saturday, November 14, 2009


(The third and fourth tracks will hook you)

I have been to a few live shows in my time. I generally avoid the opening act - by and large this has been an appropriate plan of action. There have been a few exceptions - the Cool Kids, Fujiya and Miyagi. tUnE-YaRdS takes the cake. Not only was this the best opening act I have ever seen - the Dirty Projectors had an extremely tough act to follow, they may have come up short. tUnE-YaRds is essentially just Merrill Garbus - a woman with a voice so incomprehensible, you actually spend a lot of time trying to understand where all those sounds come from. During the set, you could see the audience go from, "What the fuck is this," to "Wow, who the fuck is this?

To begin with, her voice is a cross between Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Fela Kuti (with some Prince thrown in for good measure). She borrows a lot from African and Reggae traditions in her singing. But when you listen to this music you absolutely must keep one thing in mind - she is the ONLY one singing, producing, percussing, strumming. She does the whole thing. To watch live is essentially to watch her record the album anew. She sings some background vocals and records them, then does some percussion and records it, then adds a little something oddball and records it, then mixes it all together and the song begins. It's nuts. Not to mention, wait for it, her main instrument is an ELECTRIFIED UKULELE. Not only does she play it magnificently, but you find yourself wondering why she was the first to think of it. To be fair, she has a bassist, but he is really just a dude that stands in the background.

Unfortunately the album, which she recorded herself on a digital voice recorder, does not nearly compare to the live version. With that in mind though, I cannot say enough about the live experience. Blew my mind.

With that in mind: More

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