The Yum Yum Tree have been fighting it out in the Atlanta indie rock trenches for several years now. While i would never have said that i hated the group, i found them to be best enjoyed in very small doses. They make competent pop music, but the band has always seemed way too bass heavy for me. Granted, the leader of the group is bassist Andy Gish, but still -- something about them never gelled for me.
Well, back in September i caught them play
at The Other Sound Festival, and noticed that they added a second guitarist / backing vocalist. Suddenly, their sound filled out. It was as if this is what The Yum Yum Tree were lacking all this time -- something to make their music just slightly richer. Definitely improved, so i was looking forward to seeing them again, now that new member Michelle Friedman was fully integrated into the act. The opening acts tonight promised to be interesting as well, so this was a highly anticipated show here at EvilSponge HQ.
Up first was The Arts and Sciences, the latest band from local singer-songwriter Paul Melancon. I have heard Mr. Melancon's music, but i have never caught him performing before. His current band plays light pop, similar to late era Matthew Sweet, or perhaps The Bodeans. Not bad at all, but unless you are really into the lyrics (and have sensitive enough hearing to really follow them as they boom from The EARL's soundsystem at enough volume to drown out most casual conversation), this stuff wears thin after a while.
Not to say that they were bad at all. The female lead guitarist obviously
knows her chops, and Melancon gave her plenty of chances to solo during the
songs. The rhythm was competent, and the backing vocalist / keyboardist did
a good job. Her playing and singing perfectly complemented Melancon's voice
and guitar. The music is well-constructed pop.
Arts and Science keyboard.
It doesn't rock though, and that is often what you want to see at, well, a rock club. However, they did pull off a great cover: Say It Ain't So by Weezer, faithful right down to the guitar solo. Well played.
Say it ain't so, Paul, say it ain't so!
The next act, Herman, Put Down the Gun, is the latest band featuring Sonia Tetlow, a minor musical celebrity here in Atlanta that i am slightly familiar with. (Brendan's
Note: You might know her from acts such as STB and Cowboy Mouth.) Tetlow has massive curly hair, a nice guitar, and a powerful voice. The band plays a vaguely bluesy rock that is not bad at all.
At one point, local musical legend Rob Gal (Brendan's
Note: You might remember Gal from such acts as Coolie and 6X) joined them on-stage and the band tore through a smoking cover of Communication Breakdown. Which begs the question: why don't you hear more Led Zeppelin covers?
Rob Gal points out that Sonia Tetlow does, in fact, have Robert Plant hair!
Herman, Put Down the Gun played a nice long set, and really got the crowd dancing. Tetlow has put together a good three-piece act.
Finally, at Midnight, The Yum Yum Tree took the stage. Now as a four-piece, they came across as tight, well-rehearsed, and very relaxed. The band members smiled and bounced around, and the overall vibe was fun.
The original Yum Yum Tree trio in action.
They played an enjoyable set, including Teatherball, a song they have
been playing for years and which really works with their new, fleshed out
lineup. There was also a nice version of Factor Me Out off of their
new record, which strikes me as being very Magnapoppy. And i mean that as a
Yum Yum Tree: the female half of the band.
On the whole tonight was a fun, low-key sort of evening. The Yum Yum Tree stole the show though, quite a feat considering the general quality of the music this evening. I am very pleased with the way they have grown, and look forward to what they will do next.
Ms. Andy Gish, on bass guitar and vocals.