The stage was set. Mics were all taped up and in their stands, and all instruments were ready to go. YACHT’s signature smiling yellow triangles (smiangles) adorned either end of the bandstand. Three members emerged unassumingly in all black shirts and thanked the Houston crowd for our attendance. They started into the spacey “Paradise Engineering” while the center mic stand remained unaccompanied. The crowd bobbed along as the music began to crescendo. All of a sudden onto center stage ran Claire L. Evans, the bands sinewy lead, contrasting the rest of the band in a stark white getup a la Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element. She immediately belted out verse and writhed to the jam the band was laying down. And as exciting as the YACHT show began, the fun at Fitzgerald’s downstairs on Saturday never stopped.
YACHT’s dance punk sound made it impossible to stand still. Add to it Evans’ and Jona Bechtolt’s stage presence and it was a multi-sensory extravaganza with Daltreyesque mic acrobatics and outlandish interpretive dance to match their musical chops. Watching all members trade instruments and lead vocals throughout made the cohesive set even more impressive and exciting. Marfa, Texas, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon all were cited as hometowns, and YACHT demonstrates years of diverse musical experience to go along with the varying towns they repped. You hear LCD Soundsystem in the thumping “Tripped and Fell In Love” and then Depeche Mode coupled with a more industrial sound in “I’m In Love With a Ripper”. Over the instrumentation Evans’ voice has similarities to Chrissie Hynde while her body channels Bowie. One wouldn’t expect a band like this to acknowledge the crowd at all, but they couldn’t have been more appreciative, even fielding random questions from the audience and stating that their reason for being there was “to form a connection with one another”. It would be remiss of me not to mention the heat at Fitzgerald’s. It had to be hovering around 90 in the room and even more unbearable onstage. Evans exclaimed “It COULDN’T be hotter” after rocking the crowd-pleasing “Psychic City” from See Mystery Lights. YACHT looked twice as drained as the danced out audience by the end. Every show at Fitz is uncomfortably hot, and I can’t imagine the temp onstage encourages bands to play anything more than a minimally acceptable set length. The venue is among my favorites in the Bayou City, but when the crowd was drenched while many of the overhead fans weren’t even working, improvements to temp control are necessary.
Thankfully, despite the Fitz furnace and being only a week away from wrapping up this leg of their Shangri-La tour, YACHT didn’t phone in the show. They were as energetic at the end of the set as at the beginning, finishing with “Disembodied” and the apropos “Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)”. The encore brought more gratitude from the band before a delivering a version of “Love In the Dark” that was far more energetic than the album track. It had been over a year since YACHT brought their dancy show to Houston. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take that long to see the smiangles again.