Clap Your Hands Say Yeah impress at Mr. Small’s


Waters opened for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Daniel Telek, Editor-in-Chief

When I was about eleven years old I was listening to NPR and a story about a new hip, indie band from New York City called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came on. There was much buzz about their DIY work ethic and how they could be one of the next big bands from the independent music scene to cross into the mainstream. They had a memorable name and an interesting sound. Then I didn’t hear much about them for about six years.

After the release of 2007’s Some Loud Thunder, the band toured and then took a brief hiatus in 2009.

The band returned this year with the excellent Hysterical and followed up on a tour which passed through Pittsburgh on December 6, 2011 at Mr. Small’s Funhouse.

The opening band Waters was an enjoyable band from San Francisco. They had a sound similar to that of Young the Giant and Tom Vek, but while there was potential in the band, they didn’t seem to do much to separate themselves as just another indie quartet. That being said, the ratio of good songs versus bad was favorable. Their final song was more intimate as they came down to the floor to perform within the crowd and encouraged crowd participation, which left a very positive impression with me.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came on at about 9:10 PM. They immediately started off with the exciting opener “Same Mistakes” and it continued through the next three songs capped off by the catchy, danceable “Satan Said Dance”.

After the first four songs lead singer Alec Ounsworth thanked everyone for coming to the show and they were glad to be back in Pittsburgh. He gave an anecdote about Pittsburgh having two great record stores he visited, when keyboardist and guitarist Robbie Guertin injected with how much he loved Pittsburgh hot dogs. It was a fun moment and these can be enjoyable in concerts if done correctly. It breaks up the concert and if the band comes across as genuine, like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah did, it doesn’t feel like a cheap pop to make the crowd more into your performance.

It was after Ounsworth brought out an acoustic guitar that the concert slowed a bit in the sense that the energy went down and the concert paced itself, which is always good.

After about four older, slower songs, they started playing the more energetic songs from Hysterical including the title track “Hysterical”, “Ketamine and Ecstasy” and the lead single “Maniac”.

After the band finished their set they took about a three minute break and came back for their encore. Ounsworth talked about how even though they only planned on giving an abbreviated encore they were going to play a full one considering how great of an audience there had been. It was a nice gesture as he had stated that previously throughout the concert.

Though Clap Your Hands Say Yeah doesn’t rely on spectacle to keep your attention, the music has an energy to it that keeps your head nodding and your feet tapping. It was a very pleasant experience for a concert on a Tuesday in December. I fully recommend taking a listen to the album Hysterical and to give both Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Waters a chance.