Photo by Phoebe Fox
This past weekend was a bit of a crazy one for live music in Boston. There were multiple shows all three nights with Squid, Crowfeeder and SkyTigers, Thao, and a bunch of others all having shows scheduled. I chose to see Yard Act who had the hard task of erasing my FOMO for other shows.
The night started off fairly strangely. Bad Waitress had to drop off the bill due to a positive COVID test the night before and weren't replaced. Doors still opened a little after 8:00, and Yard Act went on at 10:00 which meant a lot of the crowd was there for two hours with nothing to really do. The night started off with the disappointment of a band I was looking forward to seeing and then extra time waiting, which is never a good place to start off from. Yard Act acknowledged the situation from the stage, referring to the emergency exits announcement as their opener.
Luckily, Yard Act are a great live band. They chose to play their new album from start to finish in its entirety, which kind of makes sense since it's their only album. Kind of more strangeness, but in a good way. Vocalist James Smith is the kind of frontman you don't truly get that much any more as he is truly putting on a show. His spoken word style rants and stage presence came across like an angrier Jarvis Cocker. If you've ever seen Pulp live, you know that's the highest possible compliment. He was incredibly engaging and really worked to get the crowd as into it as possible. Considering how hyped the audience was to start the show, it didn't take much. Live, Sam Shjipstone is an incredible guitarist. The post punk noise rock that is hinted on The Overload was truly allowed to flourish on stage.
More weirdness happened during the set. During "Land of the Blind" there's a line about performing a magic trick by making someone's money disappear. Yard Act decided to actually perform said trick and got a few dollars from someone for the joke. Then someone handed up a twenty, which just opened the floodgates of people in the crowd rushing forward to hand the band twenties. Apparently more local bands shouldn't pass a hat but make a joke about performing a magic trick to get some extra cash. The main set closed with "100% Endurance" which is a great album closer but an odd set closer. For an encore, the band played two songs off their Dark Days EP. Another odd choice since I don't know if most of the audience even knew it existed.
Yard Act was a great show that I don't regret going to. Was it enough to erase all of my FOMO? No, but I don't think anything could have, and any FOMO and weirdness wasn't truly all their fault. I'll still be sure to check them out again next time they pass through the area.