June 23rd, 2014 12:25pm

Sound Like A Floral Bouquet

Tune-Yards @ Webster Hall 6/22/2014
Hey Life / Gangsta / Sink-O / Real Thing / Powa / Time of Dark / Real Live Flesh / Stop That Man / Bizness / Water Fountain / Find A New Way // Fiya

Tune-Yards “Water Fountain”

This was the first Tune-Yards show I’ve seen in some time, and the first show I’ve seen Merrill play with her new expanded band lineup. There’s a lot of good things about the new band: They add a lot of layers of sound that Merrill previously would have needed to build up in loops, and cutting out a lot of that looping time frees up some time in the show. The strange, unexpected result of this is that her performances with the new players seem a lot less immediate than when she’s just playing with bassist Nate Brenner. Those songs – pretty much all the cuts from nikki back – felt a lot more restrained and over-practiced than the older numbers, which were mostly performed as they always have been. Merrill remains a fierce and charismatic vocalist, but I couldn’t help but feel that the edge of the band had been dulled down by the additional musicians. I’m not quite sure if it’s because there WERE additional musicians – probably not? – but because the particular players were good but not quite on Merrill and Nate’s level. I mean, at least in the sense that those two have such musical chemistry that they can improvise a lot in the moment, and that didn’t seem as much like a possibility when the band filled out.

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