May 13, 2014 reviews… tUnE-yArDs @ London's Village Underground
by Alex
by Alex hmv London, Bio It's so good to know there's still a little magic in the air. reviews… tUnE-yArDs @ London's Village Underground

tUnE-yArDs have just released a brilliant new record called Nikki Nack and brought their eccentric live show to the Village Underground last night, we went along to review things..



Tune-Yards. Sorry, we mean… tUnE-yArDs! An indie-worldbeat outfit from Oakland led by the force-of-nature vocal chords and loop-pedal skills of Merrill Garbus.



The Village Underground, tucked away in Shoreditch.


Any good supports?

Tune-Yards’ tour mates for this jaunt around Europe are Sylvan Esso, an electro-pop duo with dubstep tendencies from North Carolina. A confident performance garnered a warm reaction from the crowd, not least for the tight-knit duo’s good vibes.


Was it full? And how were the crowd?

It was packed-out and the crowd were willing Tune-Yards to triumph on the first gig of their European tour. From the die-hard fans to those less familiar who had obviously heard what a blast a Tune-Yards show is.


So what was the set like? What did they play?

The set was entirely comprised of songs from the brand new (brilliant) album Nikki Nack and 2011’s celebrated Whokill. We should probably explain that a defining feature of a Tune-Yards show is that most songs begin with Garbus hitting and singing things in what can seem like a haphazard fashion until a loop is built up that will form the basis for the song.

The fact that she does this without any concession to performance or apology for the lack thereof is something you quickly get used to and enjoy as you try to guess what song she is currently starting or laugh along with her as she tries not to run out of breath to complete a long-note loop.

The set started powerfully with 'Sink-O' and 'Real Thing' from the new album and Whokill’s 'Gangsta' but as Garbus relaxed, the crowd reacted more and more and the whole band started to have a good time and it just got better and better.

Backed by her long-term collaborator Nate Brenner on bass plus two animal-print clad singers and an electric/acoustic drummer, the troupe brilliantly brought to life the studio music.


Any good between song banter?

As she prepared herself to start the drum loops for one particular song by singing it under her breath (doo doo da, do doo doo da), Garbus acknowledged that this ‘revealing of her thought processes’ was a treat reserved for crowds early on in the tour only. That was only after she’d paused to remember the next bit and the crowd had cracked up right on cue.


Did they put on much of a show?

Just some simple lighting and snazzy outfits.


What was the highlight of the set?

Undeniably this was the Whokill hit 'Bizness 'which was the penultimate song of the main set. From the opening where the singers recreated the looped vocal riff from the record with rapid exchanges of notes to the chorus signalled by a single ukulele strike and backed by the whole crowd to the extended end section which brought back the vocal riff, the whole song was unbridled joy for all concerned.


Where can I catch them next?

Your best bet in the UK is to get yourself to Glastonbury this summer and catch them there!

tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain (4AD)

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