Photo Anna Palma
If “Williamsburgian” ever became a sanctioned subgenre of indie rock, Yeasayer would own it. As the product of a generation afforded the boundless influences of the Internet, they’ve culled together the most faddish strains of music over the last few years (tribal, dub, psych, freak-folk) and fashioned them into curious, multiethnic, Urban Outfitted jams. This show at Music Hall of Williamsburg welcoming the release of their third album, Fragrant World, will be, for all intents and purposes, a night for Brooklynites, by Brooklynites—a hometown fête, designated extra special by an official YouTube live stream, before they play to the teen-populated masses at Central Park next month.
In some ways, the band’s coming-of-age arc has followed the neighborhood’s itself. Fresh-faced bohemian ideals wane to the pitfalls of gentrification and never-ending, overwhelming options. The art of acquisition celebrated on earlier albums is now a source of restlessness and anxiety. Bulking, bittersweet single “Henrietta” finds sympathy with Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cells were involuntarily cultured in the 1950s, becoming immortalized for medical research. The world-views expressed in “Glass of the Microscope” are more hasty: “I wish that I could tell you that it's all alright but in truth we're doomed,” frontman Chris Keating sings over a sedated version of an early-90s Genesis track. If tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg is our last night on earth, we better make it count. And on the off-chance we find ourselves sharing the fate of Henrietta, at least there will be that YouTube stream to last us for eternity.
Yeasayer plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday, August 15 with Daedelus. The show is SOLD OUT.