tUnE-yArDs @ Captain's Rest, 15 Jun

Article by Chris Buckle | 22 Jun 2011

Thousands’ dual acoustic lullabies evoke gentle breezes, sun-dappled lakes, and other lovely things that unfortunately, placed against the abundant personality of tonight’s headliner, try patience interminably. File under: wrong time, wrong place for an introduction.

Do You Wanna Live? opens tUnE-yArDs’ set raucously, with a packed Captain's Rest responding to every variation of the question with affirmative bellows. “You are a party in a can” Merrill Garbus croons, a sentiment handily reversible: few performers are so inherently likable, whether appropriating wallets or admiring Glasgow’s rhythm. Saxophone stabs and loose bass runs build the revelry, but the most important instrument is Garbus herself, who plies her malleable voice in remarkable ways.

The musical exuberance is reflected sartorially in face paint and feathers, evoking a child-like joie de vivre. But to infantilise would be to overlook how sexy these songs can be: for instance, the Prince-like groove of Powa, or the sassy odd-funk of Es-so. Bizness predictably prompts the loudest squeals, but selecting highlights from such a consistently excellent set is somewhat arbitrary. The final lines tonight goad us to ‘watch me, watch me, watch me more’; if only that were an option. [Chris Buckle]