Live: Yuck Brave The Thunder Snowstorm At Glasslands


Yuck/Total Slacker
Wednesday, January 26

Better Than: Watching American Idol exploit that brain-damaged woman, evidently

If you’re here tonight, than you really want to be here. This includes your headliners, the classic-indie-guitar-god-worshiping Brits Yuck, who valiantly battled visa issues that axed their planned show last night at Mercury Lounge and probably contributed to their barely making it to this one: “We just got here,” they announce from the stage. As for the crowd, we’ve braved a fuckin’ thunder snowstorm, which begets a two-hour delay further exacerbated by one of the least pleasant opening-band experiences in recent memory. It’s pretty much all worth it, though, when Yuck plays the song about the coconuts.

First, though, we are tasked with surviving Brooklyn’s Total Slacker, a mercilessly plodding lo-fi dirge carnival wherein everyone sings “whoa” off-key a whole lot and the jean-jacketed frontman stands on his tiptoes while unleashing semi-atonal guitar solos of amusing personal intensity. If their set list wasn’t a goof they have songs called “Taco” and “Creepo’s.” This goes on for what seems like an incredibly long time, particularly the last, especially plodding tune, which devolves into a particularly involved amusing guitar freakout, climaxing when the dude destroys both his amp and his guitar, leaping into the crowd and smashing the latter into the floor repeatedly, which I assure you is way more satisfying and cathartic for me than it is for him. Ordinarily I’m opposed to instrument-smashing on economic principle, but I do believe I’ll make an exception.

So Yuck. “It sounds way less like Dinosaur Jr than I thought it would,” a friend had remarked of Yuck’s imminent self-titled debut earlier today, which is true, and yet it still sounds a whole hell of a lot like Dinosaur Jr. This is a band of young cheerful Brits whose frontman will happily admit to having “sort of just shat myself” upon hearing Pavement for the first time; this translates live into bright, scruffy, expertly melodic power-pop (think an actually teenage Teenage Fanclub) laced with precise bursts of J Mascisian distortion. They haul roughly 20 pedals onstage between two guitarists, a bassist, and a delightfully be-Afro’d drummer who smiles brightly and sings along to himself the whole time; upon the conclusion of bouncy b-side “Coconut Bible,” there is a brief whirlwind of onstage high-fives.

These people are tremendously endearing, particularly when they attempt to mellow out. “Suicide Policeman” (as in “I could be your suicide policeman”) is a fine bit of semi-twee jangle, and their own personal satisfying/cathartic closing number is “Rubber,” a seven-minute slow burn, both grunge-heavy and light on its feet, saddled with a ludicrous erotic-dog-washing video but fiendishly catchy all the same, the demurely howled “Should I give in?” chorus the perfect epitaph for a night when nobody did, even the people who should’ve.

Critical Bias: Ah, so Total Slacker is known for this sort of thing.

Overheard: “I can’t believe how wet I am.”

Random Notebook Dump: Trudging back to the Bedford L stop through knee-high snowfall makes for an excellent workout.

Yuck Set List
Holing Out
The Wall
Suicide Policeman
Get Away
Coconut Bible

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 27, 2011

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