Yuck/Mozart Parties @ The Cockpit, Leeds 20.05.11

Starting out with a brand of pop that was perhaps mildly juxtaposed to the alternative ethic of the night were Mozart Parties. Playing some rather melodramatic songs with sizeable spaces for washes of echo and reverb, they were at times brought close to the realms of cheese, particularly by their female backing singer who occasionally added some ‘na-na-na’s from the background. After the first couple of songs however, the set improved and their character became more rounded with the addition of some less obvious numbers. After a short set, Mozart Parties seemed like they were slightly unready for all this and could have done with a bit more confidence to uphold their ambitious approach to songwriting.

May 20th, 2011 at The Cockpit, Leeds / By Jack Sibley
Yuck Slipping onto the stage and donning their instruments, Yuck were oozing confidence to the point where they seemed entirely unphased by the proceedings of the night. Playing the gig without even talking to the audience can sometimes give a sense that the band doesn’t care but Yuck were giving off so many ‘cool’ vibes that it didn’t matter. Swaying back and forth to the opening bars of ‘The Wall’, singer Daniel Blumberg fell towards the mic as if drawn by magnetism and moaned out his stoned melodies before falling back again and resuming his ferocious strumming. In the centre, bassist Mariko Doi took much the same attitude and rocked backwards and forwards with a glazed look in her eyes, only livening up when the music fed her the energy.

It is certainly arguable though, that Max Bloom is the musical drive behind the group. Hijacking the guitar and screeching it around corners of feedback and delay, he is most definitely a guitarist of the Sonic Youth school. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the closing track ‘Rubber’ which finished with a cyclical passage of two chords. Over the top of this, Bloom ripped notes from his guitar that were eternally just out of key and created a glowing arc of harmonics and white noise that gave the lie to the sludgy and downbeat assertions of the rest of the band.

Imitations of Yuck could so easily fall into the category of bored and boring but what detracts from this is the fact that they contradict it over and over again with happy melodies, upbeat tempos and hopeful lyrics. This combination of careless attitude and cheerful music transform the boredom into relaxation and the simplicity into beauty resulting in a carefree and peaceful set of songs and a carefree and peaceful set of people.