Hip-swinging island beats and the call of a crazed jungle woman followed by thunderous bass and hyena-like cries: a sign that Dirty Projectors and Tune-Yards were a perfect pair to tour together.
Tune-Yards is made up of tenor-ukulele live drum-looping of Merril Garbus and (on this tour) bass player Nate Brenner. In a zebra print shirt and wide eyes, Garbus was the real jungle deal. I don’t even remember much of what Brenner was doing as he stood behind in the shadows, so Garbus, as usual, was the highlight of the evening. Garbus looped “woops” and “kakahoos” with both drum-to-mic-stand percussion and a bit of beat boxing to complete the background sound. Then Garbus started singing. Her bold vocals with minor key up-beat ukulele created the look of something simple but had the sound of a full band. Every time I’ve seen Tune-Yards the crowd has reacted well. Tonight I had the reassurance with body swaying, and a fellow behind me who kept saying, “This is fucking nuts, man are you watching this, it’s fucking nuts.’”
The time in between bands seemed a bit long, but Dirty Projectors turned out to be worth the wait. The lights dimmed as lead singer Dave Longstreth and keyboardist/vocalist Angela Deradoorian started the set off with a cute calm song. The rest of the six-piece band entered for a loud jungle explosion in what turned out to be the best song of the set. The bass (my favorite part) was loud and chest pumping. It could have been Nat Baldwin’s dimpled moustached smile or the fact that with each low note played there was a boom through my chest and vibration into my throat. Throw in the double kicked bass drum and it was almost overwhelming. Overall the music was fun, and the complexity of each song was great to watch. They would play an amazing bit once and with no warning in the middle of the song they’d switched into something new never to look back. It was sometimes hard to groove to as your body stops short and you’re left with a few awkward seconds, but as with most unexpected surprises you’re left smiling. Even the back-up vocals were crazy, as the three girls (Deradoorian, Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle) each had a different part in a different key—How they did that still confuses me.
Both bands were a wonderful treat to see. Their style and energy made the night better than I expected. If you missed out I suggest checking out their new releases (Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca and Tune-Yards- Bird-Droppings) until you can experience a live performance.