Yacht Review – The Rex 12/5
Yacht’s description on their Facebook page threw me for a bit of a loop when I first thought about going to their show. I’m not one for over hyped live performances that take you into another world. Everyone knows you’re still in the same space, no matter how avant-garde or immersing the performance. I was expecting a lot of frills that overcompensated for lackluster musicianship. I was totally wrong.
Their page explicitly states “YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Los Angeles, California, Marfa, Texas and Portland, Oregon, USA. All people are welcome to become members of YACHT. Accordingly, YACHT is what YACHT is when YACHT is standing before you.” And what the hell does that mean exactly? You have to experience one of their performances to know for sure. We happened to catch them last week when they swung through The Rex. It was entertaining to say the least.
Their sound is reminiscent of a mix between the B52s and Devo, two bands who have influenced my musical tastes substantially. The charming nature of their live performance is what sets them apart. Had they not been so big on supplementing their set with A/V elements and sporadic dialogue, I don’t think the show would have been nearly as enjoyable. The lead singer, Claire, alongside Jona on keys and vocals complimented each other well, often sharing duties on the keys and being very responsive to one another, rather than trying to upstage the other with their over the top antics. Claire was particularly enthralling, using her white microphone cord as a prop. It was obvious she’d been practicing her moves, as more novice performers would have themselves tangled up in no time. It was as though singing just wasn’t enough for her as a performer, she had to have more to do onstage. Jona was equally as vibrant, taking a break from keys to jump off the stage and slide backwards across the floor in the middle of the crowd while Claire subsequently waved as he went temporarily AWOL.
You can tell Yacht is a band who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. They are all extremely talented musicians and vocalists to boot. Even one of the guitarists who wasn’t at the forefront of each number took the reigns for a song or two and blew me away. A band who has really taken the time to hone their craft, I’m amazed that Yacht isn’t bigger than they are right now. They did their best to pay homage to Pittsburgh, taking the time to ask the audience, “Do you guys have any questions?” When an audience member asked, “Who should I believe in?” they replied “You should always believe in yourself.” How inspirational. I also learned they find The Waffle Shop to be the best thing about Pittsburgh. Their comfort level with the audience grew to the point that made them remark, “I feel like I could ask you anything and everything”, which segued into “When did you lose it?” The interactive nature of their performance was very much in the vein of Pgh-based Extreme Animals who coincidentally opened the show. Had I known that I would have arrived a bit earlier! An entertaining time nonetheless, even supporting band Parenthetical Girls were received warmly by the crowd.
It isn’t very often that I’m impressed by how personable a band can be while performing. In an industry of over-inflated egos, superstars and just straight up weirdos, Yacht is a refreshing take on a familiar sound.