Snowstorms are a bitch. So is being a buzzed-about British band and having to cancel your CMJ appearance last fall and then your Mercury Lounge show earlier this week because of visa issues. The upside, I suppose, is that getting yourself to the venue is in itself a triumph — whether you're in the band or one of the hundreds that packed Glasslands last night to see them. It definitely doesn’t hurt either party, though, when the band in question sounds like the consolidation of every college-radio act you loved from the 90s and sings a song called “Coconut Bible.”
When Yuck finally took the stage just after 12:30, they had reportedly flown into Newark airport just three hours earlier. They approached the task of winning over a NY audience seriously, taking an unusual amount of time to set up, and played each song with precision and purpose. The swirling walls of sound on opener “Holing Out” were turned into a stew of roughed-up harmonies and distorted guitars, putting to good use the 26 pedals spread among a curly haired frontman, a seriously banged bassist, and a James Mercer look-alike guitarist. Early standouts from their forthcoming LP came in the form of “The Wall,” a melodic variation on Screaming Trees that rhymes “wall” with “if you’re tall” — it should’ve been on the Clueless soundtrack — and the harmony-laden “Suicide Policeman,” by far the band’s softest, weepiest number, despite the bonus slide guitar and noise rumblings.
It’s not surprising that the guy with the Afro looked like he was having the most fun, happily slapping his drums and singing along. Once the rest of the band settled in though, they started to marvel at having made it to New York and said things like, "You guys have got coral on the ceiling!” (which is true, we do), becoming more likable by the minute. Then came a song they swore had never been played live before, the poppy B-side "Coconut Bible," punctuated with a high-five among band members. Now even more likable. Eventually "Rubber" closed the night — a slow burn of driving melody and overdriven guitars most fitting of the "shoegaze" tag the blogs have piled on them — and inadvertently putting to song my hellish trip home. In New York people will bear extreme weather conditions to see a band that has yet to put out an album, and a band will rush to approve their visas, get stuck in a London airport, and drive straight from New Jersey to play for them. That in itself is a triumph.
Photos by Nadia Chaudhury