Last night's show at Mr. Small's may have been the only live-music performance I've attended wherein an opening band played longer than the headliner. I understand it's tough to put together a generous set list when you've got a one-LP repertoire, but geez, Yeasayer -- that was short! So short that an encore would have been awkward.
I'd like to say that opener Ponytail had a really innovative sound, but I was too busy flinching at the piercing acoustics to tell for sure. The electrifying guitar parts, jungle-bird vocals and chaotic crescendos probably would have made for some seriously danceable mayhem had it just been turned down a few notches.
Nobody in Ponytail wore a ponytail, including its lead singer Molly Seigel, but she did wear a tie-died Americn Idol T-shirt and pink soccer shorts. Seigel is an interesting specimen all around: She stands about 4'10”; her eyes roll back in her head when she shouts and squawks into the mic; and she bounces around like she's wearing anti-gravity sneakers. During the last number, she stepped down from her perch and danced with some of the more enthusiastic audience members.
And then it was Yeasayer time. I counted eight songs and I don't think I'm missing any. Duration qualms aside, Yeasayer was a great band to see live, because it satisfied the cravings of two very different breeds of show-goers, often within the same song. Like "Wait for the Summer" -- it had swaying, spacey vocals for those cagey types that express enjoyment by hugging themselves, but it also had funky hand claps and tambourine for those show-goers who came to freakin' dance, man!
Yeasayer played several unidentified new tracks, all very '80s-sounding, all with shiver-inducing harmonies and jaunty Celtic undertones. Fans should kick off the countdown to the band's sophomore release immediately.