Yuck at Turner Hall
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It’s been fascinating to watch Generation X stumble into middle age. As the grunge-y sounds of the early ’90s begin to make their inevitable resurgence, some of the crankier members of Gen X have been pooping their Dickies over whether new bands should ape the sounds they once held so dear. To many, it seems unfathomable that—gasp!—a 20-year-old genre might be due for a revival. Even worse: that the revival might be led by—double gasp!—kids who were 2 years old when Kurt Cobain was sticking it to the Wal-Mart set.
Take England’s Yuck, for example. While not the first band to mine the early ’90s sounds of Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, it’s certainly the one currently enjoying the highest profile. Based on the band’s performance last night at Turner Hall, it’s easy to see why. Eschewing the histrionics of their dance-happy peers, the youthful members of Yuck instead took their cues from their older, Washing Machine-worshipping uncles. Slouchy, too cool for school, and appropriately aloof, Yuck perfectly nailed both the sound and attitude of the bygone 120 Minutes-scored era. Hell, the band even has a girl bass player!
Drawing entirely from its debut self-titled album, Yuck didn’t have much material to work with, though a lack of deep cuts kept the set succinct and razor sharp. The undeniably Dino. Jr.-esque “The Wall” sounded terrific, as did the woozy, slide guitar-highlighted “Suck.” Looking for all the world like a Don’t Look Back Bob Dylan, lead singer Daniel Blumberg proved to be a compelling frontman, especially on the fuzzy, mid-tempo “Shook Down.” Though still a little green, Blumberg and his young group improved as the night went on, exploring looser arrangements than those found on record, not to mention some adorably vintage drop tuning. The one-two punch of “Suicide Policeman” and “Georgia” was a set highlight, and the band’s biggest and best hit, “Get Away,” made for a welcome mid-set picker-upper.
The air-conditioned confines of Turner Hall were certainly a relief from the sweltering temperatures outside, though the crowd was relatively modest. Even more modest were the two opening bands. Young Man was, in fact, terribly young (we’re talking early Bieber haircuts here, folks), and featured a lead singer who sounded like Conor Oberst with his nuts caught in a vice. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, meanwhile, played its otherwise-enjoyable set entirely in the dark. So long, dance parties—welcome back, self-loathing.