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Yuck at the Echo on Friday February 11th, 2011

There was a lot of energy in the room, the Echo really filled up for the double bill Yuck/Smiths Western, and I couldn’t keep myself thinking that some of the people were just there to console themselves from not having been able to buy a Arcade Fire ticket sold next door at Origami Vinyl the same morning. But I project too much on myself, there were true fans there, people clapping and jumping, enjoying the show, asking the bassist for a guitar pick, climbing on stage to grab the set list after the show.

The first band, Therapies Son, couldn’t believe they had been picked to open for these 2 bands, ‘completely amazing!’ said shyly the singer, Alex Jacob.
With fragile and hushed vocals and the unusual use in pop-rock music of a trumpet and also a double bass played by someone who could have escaped from the band of Edward Sharpe and the magnetic zeros, they seemed very young and sounded pretty good, considering it was only their second show. Alex was presenting most of his sunny and nostalgic lo-fi songs, whose would really deserve another listening, and a song entitled ‘Golden Girl’, was bringing a wealth of warm harmonies mixed with a latent weirdness, a little bit as if Ariel Pink was behind the scene.

The Londonian Yuck came on stage with its fuzzy energy and I was curious to know what they were about as Iman keeps mentioning them in his favorite tracks.
A lot has already been made about their numerous influences despite their young age, mostly alternative 80s-90s rock, from Sonic Youth to Dinosaur Jr. and sure there was some undeniable resemblance.

The quintet played with just enough reverb and distortion over hooks and brightness to let shine their melodies, like the sunny one of ‘Georgia’. Their layered guitar riffs seemed effortless, as if they were played by a band of veteran rockers, and the unassuming attitude of their frontman Daniel Blumberg in particular, made them likeable right away. Wearing ripped jeans and matching his scruffy hair, he said how great it was to be in LA, and talked about his great uncle from Glasgow, who is living now in Santa Barbara.

Max Bloom on guitar, Daniel Blumberg on guitar and vocals and Mariko Doi on bass met many times, half song, in the middle of the stage to jump and jam in front of their drummer Jonny Rogoff, who was displaying the best afro’s cut I have seen for a long time. Their almost psychedelic guitars, were going on and on for a long time, building a noisy wall, surfing harmonies at times, grinding distortion at other times, at the top of repetitive lyrics such as ‘Should I give in?’

They left the stage after a stormy rendition of  ‘Rubber’, reanimating the sound of their distortion, which stayed alive well after everyone had left the stage, letting us absorb these bursts of Doppler effects for a few minutes.

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