tUnE-yArDs played MHOW w/ Buke & Gass (pics), playing Green Space (stream) & Pier 54 w/ Austra (who is here now)
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Garbus, who records under the name Tune-Yards (or, as she prefers, tUnE-yArDs), was joined on stage by a bassist and a two-person saxophone section, but the most critical interaction was the one between her right foot and the pedals clustered around her microphone stand.
Beating time on her hip with a drumstick, she acted as the conductor of her own personal orchestra, using the pedals to record snatches of song and stray drum hits that magically coalesced in perfect unison.
On “Gangsta,” from her second album, w h o k i l l, she began by mimicking the sound of a police siren, adding the distorted thump of a bass drum and the off-beat click of a drumstick on her microphone stand. Her voice took on the gravelly patois of a Jamaican rude boy as she sang, “What’s a girl to do if she’ll never be a Rasta?”
On “Bizness,” Garbus played a staccato melody on a ukulele, evoking the clipped sound of a West African thumb piano. She was steeped in the region’s music during years spent in Kenya, and has acknowledged the influence – “Any African music it sounds like I’m stealing, I’m stealing,” she told one interviewer – but her one-woman approach shields her from any risk of copying her source material too closely. On “Hatari,” she sang in Swahili, but the song’s hectic overreach seemed to emanate from a country wholly her own.
Garbus’ tourmates Buke and Gass, who joined her for the herky-jerk of “Es-So,” share her handmade approach. [Philadelphia Enquirer]
Buke and Gass and tUnE-yArDs played a tour-ending show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night, one night before both artists took part in the ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ show at Bowery Ballroom (more on that in a bit). Garbus killed it as usual. Pictures from that show are in this post.
Back on 5/18, tUnE-yArDs appeared on WNYC (listen below). As pointed out in “What’s Going on Monday“, Merrill will again perform for WNYC but this time live in their Greene Space. The short performance is sold out, but it will be streaming live on thegreenespace.org at 7pm tonight (5/23).
tUnE-yArDs’ next proper NYC show is a big free one on Pier 54 this summer. Since the initial announcement, Austra was also added as opener for that July 14th outdoor show (which makes it extra awesome). Meanwhile you can catch Austra at Mercury Lounge TONIGHT (5/23), if you have a ticket (it’s sold out). Austra also returns in August as part of a tour with Cold Cave.
More Music Hall pictures, and last week’s WNYC appearance stream, below…
Buke and Gass