If, like myself, you’re an unwavering Yuck fan, then their gig this Saturday at The Lexington was basically guaranteed to be good. Really good, even. So good, in fact, that I didn’t even mind sitting on the 205 for an hour and a half in hellish city traffic to get there. Despite this excitement, I found myself feeling oddly nervous when, on the Monday before the show, a status detailing the nature of their set list for the weekend was revealed on the band’s Facebook page: ‘some oldies, some newies’, I dubiously read. I couldn’t help but wonder (and worry) about how well the band would grapple with the older tracks of their repertoire, those predating the departure of singer Daniel Blumberg in 2013.
Now, I’m not adverse to change and evolution in band line-ups. In some cases (Fleetwood Mac to name but one) they’ve been welcomed. But when you’re as big a fan of this band as I am, there’s always going to be a fear that things will never quite be as good as they once were. That is, in the fledgling days of Yuck back in 2011.
The four-piece modestly arranged themselves on stage and launched into the show with sonic cohesion, instantaneously purging the anticipating audience of all doubts. The sound Yuck generate in their live shows is so deliciously their own, and despite exchanging Blumberg’s characteristically raw, nasal vocals for Max Bloom’s smoother, more wholesome style, the personality formed on their first record hasn’t been lost.
The mastery of Glow & Behold (2013), of which the set was mostly comprised, was showcased in highlights ‘Lose My Breath’ and ‘Memorial Fields’. ‘Rebirth’, whilst being met with welcoming cries from the audience, didn’t translate as well as hoped, and fell rather flat away from the insulation of studio recording. ‘Oldies’, which were sporadically offered up throughout the show, included personal favourites ‘The Wall’ and ‘Get Away’, both of which Bloom did great justice.
Upon leaving The Lexington on Saturday night, I felt elated, and safe in the knowledge that Yuck, despite reconfiguration, are as they always have been: ultimately, a very good indie-rock band. Rather than haemorrhaging from the loss of a key member, they championed the injury by offering up a slick, electrified set showing great self-assurance. To watch a band peel through their repertoire so comfortably in their own skin is a truly pleasurable thing. ‘We are Yuck’, they seemed to articulate, ‘and we never won’t be’.