It’s hard to believe it, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – the project of lead vocalist Alec Ounsworth – have been around (at the time of writing) for 13 years, and in that time even managed to squeeze in a short hiatus.
Now, the East Coast band have acquired themselves a bit of cult status after a strange career. One member of the crowd close to me even comments loudly before the show, “I’m not even sure if I remember a song this band has done”. Within a few tracks into the set, this same member is bouncing around with the excitement of someone seeing their favourite band of all time.
This timeframe is important to remember as CYHSY take the stage. Under the beautifully lit backdrop of the Village Underground – with it’s high ceilings and piercing lights – is a band who are quietly confident of their chemistry and assured of their catalogue of indie gems. Ounsworth doesn’t chat much between playing tracks from across the band’s five album discography, and this doesn’t come across as trying not to engage but more of a tactical thought in putting on a tightly run ship.
The setlist seemed to consist in chunks of two songs at a time, which would see an instant move from the first track to the second in a way that melded the two into something anew. This happened several times throughout the night, with tracks like ‘Yankee Go Home’ off of 2007’s Some Loud Thunder coexisting in a new space with ‘Is This Love’ off of the classic 2005 self titled debut.
One of the heights of the night came off the back of ‘Down (Is Where I Want To Be)’, now given new light with an elongated trotting outro, which expertly morphed into the opening of “The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth”. The infectious opening synth-lines instantaneously upped the crowd from pleased to exuberant, with the front few rows seemingly losing their minds and transforming into a bunch of university lads with flailing fist-pumps and chants in classic Brit-pop loving fashion.
This was only further realised during ‘Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood’, as several punters opened up mini dance circles over Ounsworth’s call of “Now that everyone is here / Can I please have your attention” and repetitive despairing “Young Blood / Young Blood / Young Blood” cry.