March 07, 2011

Reviewed - Yellow Ostrich

The Middle East, Cambridge

We’ve told you about Alex Schaaf and Yellow Ostrich before. But last night at The Middle East, we had the wonderful opportunity to experience their music in a completely new way.
At many live performances, the material presented is very much like the recordings, just louder. In contrast, when Yellow Ostrich took the stage they brought an entirely new and fresh sound to an album we were already enthralled by. Accompanying Schaaf were his usual cohort Michael Tapper drumming and the wonderful and now permanent addition of Jon Natchez on bass and horns. (Side note: Natchez is a former member of Beirut….which means he has probably touched Zach Condon at some point!)
The drums, bass and horns propelled the band into a totally new arena musically. The sparse stylings on record were transformed into an amazingly full sound that provided all the makings for a stupendous performance. It was almost easy to forget the most intriguing and impressive part; Schaaf’s live vocal sampling. On many of the songs he would lay down two or three harmonies of himself before even beginning to sing the lyrics. (A good example can be found below.) No one does it quite like he does. Oh yeah, and he was barefoot the whole time. We really like this guy.
Apart from the material off The Mistress performed so vigorously, the boys also brought a few new songs including standout “Marathon Runner.” Unfortunately even Schaaf doesn’t know when they’ll record next, as he told us after the show.
Regardless, the unexpected power combined with the already familiar sweet, soaring, melodic sound of Yellow Ostrich made for a tremendous show. Catch them if you can!

Yellow Ostrich-"Libraries"


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