Review: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at TripodTweet
Review at Tripod, Dublin on January 25th 2012
It’s just before 9.15 and a packed Tripod is getting excited as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah take to the stage. It’s already pushing the maximum bearable temperature and soon it’s going to be kicked up another notch (though, thankfully, the fans are turned on shortly after the band begins).
The opening song on their list, ‘Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away’ provides no more than appreciative smiles and nods and tapping of feet from the assembled crowd, though they cheer come the song comes to a close. The same formula is followed to next few songs and the audience, while seeming to enjoy it, are not getting carried away with the show.
The band, for their part, sounds tight but nothing more. Alec Ounsworth is in fine voice (depending on your opinion of his voice, I suppose) but there is no audience interaction. He stares out into the audience with no particular focus. There is no banter beyond “It’s great to be back in Dublin. It’s been too long.” Seven songs in and we’ve already had two of the band’s biggest hits (in ‘Satan Said Dance’ and ‘This Home on Ice’) but the show hasn’t gotten going yet. So far, it hasn’t been much different to listening to the songs on CD at home.
That changes utterly, though, with the next track. ‘In a Motel’ is a track on their new album. It is not one known by many of the crowd but so good is the rendition – played acoustically with the lights turned down – that silence is brought to the room as everyone looks on the stage stunned. It’s an amazing turn about in a set and one they manage to keep up with the country-tinged ‘Details of the War’ which follows.
‘The Witness’ Dull Surprise’ and ‘Misspent Youth’ cannot keep up the momentum and there is interest lost in parts of the audience. Even ‘Over and Over Again’ from their eponymous début (which seems to be the one best known by the audience) cannot elicit a great crowd reaction.
The band don’t seem worried though as they know their next song with tear the roof of Tripod. So it proves and there are howls of joy as the first bars of ‘The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth’ are played out. The sense of euphoria is carried right through until long after the music has stopped on stage.
The tempo is kept up for the next few songs as they play through ‘Maniac’ straight into ‘Is This Love?’. Even though the next song, ‘Ketamine and Ecstasy’, is from their new album (which hasn’t been received greatly all evening) the crowd are on such a buzz that the cheers, whoops and dancing don’t look like they’ll come to an end. As Clap Your Hands Say Yeah exit the stage after another rousing track, this time ‘Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood’, the crowd are tired and sweaty but satisfied. It would be a fine place to end the show but everyone knows there is an encore coming.
When it comes it is, inevitably, anticlimactic. ‘Some Loud Thunder’ and the epic ‘Adam’s Plane’ are fine songs but the energy left the room when the band first left the stage. It’s a little sad to have to exit on a down note, but the evening has had so many highs that it’s a small complaint in an otherwise very good show.