Review: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Crocodile

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Photo credit goes to Dan “Stud Muffin” Tice.

On August 2nd, famed and admirable indie rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took over the Crocodile for a night of pure impassioned (and drunk) fun. While I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to have skepticism about how their live show was going to be going into it seeing as the group lost three of their original five members in 2012 and musically have been considerably struggling ever since, never more apparent than on their awkward and schizophrenic 2014 effort Only Run. In spite of this, the two remaining members and their touring band managed to put on an energetic and experienced live performance.

I and m’colleague arrived at the venue at around 9:30, during the set of the opening band, Mikey and Matty, playing an acoustic set to get the night going. Their sound reminded me a lot of Of Monsters and Men sans the insufferable vocals, so they were a lot more tolerable, at the very least. While I’m not at all a fan of this particular type of sugary, carefree indie folk-pop (I like my indie folk a lot more miserable), I thought they did a serviceable job of getting the crowd going before the main event came on. The crowd seemed to appreciate their inclusion as well, as they gave their undivided attention all throughout and showered them with applause after each track.

It was past 10:00 when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took to the stage. There was no ambient track or anything to set things off as the band walked out; the band came out and immediately went into their first song: the slow-burning “Blameless” off of Only Run. The synths were calm and twinkling, the bass was stylistically fuzzy and distorted, and Alec Ounsworth’s vocals were just as understated and wistful as they are on tape. While I was hoping for the goofy, surreal “Clap Your Hands!” to be the set opener, “Blameless” served just as well, though, and it got their set off on the right start.

From there, the band played around 15 or so songs that spanned their entire discography, which offered up a great amount of content, especially for those who enjoy Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s whole four-album oeuvre. From the young jangly goodness of their self-titled record (“In This Home On Ice”, “Is This Love?”, “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth”) to the more experimental Some Loud Thunder (“Satan Said Dance”, “Some Loud Thunder”), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s hour-or-so set was definitely an interesting one; a diverse one at that.

On top of that, the group’s sound was solid. The anonymous touring band held up their part fairly well (especially their frantic drummer), and the four piece managed to play together well without outplaying each other. Lead guitarist and vocalist Alec Ounsworth has always been had one of the most uniquely personable and almost emo-esque frontmen in 21st century indie rock, and his one-of-a-kind vocals sounded just as emotive and over-the-top in person. His singing especially stood out when they performed “Satan Said Dance” from 2007.

“Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” off of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah closed off their set, and after an elongated applause from the packed crowd, the band returned to the stage for a couple more, “As Always” and finally “Same Mistake”. It was a pretty nice end to a fun night.

All in all, I had a lot of fun at the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show. It may not have been the most life-changing and enlightening concert I’ve ever been to, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night, and I’d be more than happy to see them in concert again. If you’re a fan of the band, I highly recommend you see them if you get the chance, because, despite losing most of their original lineup, the band still has it.

Your friend,
Jess Casebeer

About Jess Casebeer

The only music critic in the Pacific Northwest, Jess Casebeer is the youngest member of the NorthWest Music Scene crew at age 16. Open to most genres out there, he greatly values reviews that are informative, critical and entertaining. He's kind of like an innerspring mattress: firm, yet comfortable in its own right. Follow him on Twitter @JessCasebeer.