Sunday, 20 January 2008

Yeo & The Fresh Goods, Yeow Meow @ Alhambra (17.01.08)

Last Thursday saw the official launch of multi-instrumentalist Yeo's debut album, Trouble Being Yourself. Now you may be familiar with Yeo from local bands such as Tragic/Athletic, Yeow Meow (who also played), SkyPi, and Raven Squad Elite, but down let this fool you into thinking that Yeo's solo music is more avant-garde noise rock or wacked out electronica like these other acts. Rather Yeo & The Fresh Goods' (his live backing band) weapon of choice is the pop song, and the wield it with undeniable skill.

But first we have the always memorable, always cacophonous, Yeow Meow to listen to (having missed the first act, Sirinival). Ben Thompson and company tear through a short but sweet set of noise rock. Although it wasn't the best set I've seen the band play (Nadia's singing was off key at times and Alhambra's acoustics didn't really suit the band's sound), Yeow Meow were nevertheless entertaining and an excellent entree.

As Yeo & The Fresh Goods begin their opening song it becomes apparent that the band is unusually tight for one that didn't even record the songs they're playing. While they do stray from the versions found on Trouble Being Yourself, Yeo's eclectic mix of songs blend surprisingly well in a live setting. The Fresh Good's present a perfect foil to Yeo on stage, with keyboardist/backup vocalist Georgia, and trumpeter Tom providing an excellent layer of melody to the songs, while bassist Mick and drummer Richie gel together to form a versatile rhythm section.

But the true star of the show is Yeo, who cuts a joyful, slightly embarrassed figure on stage. Switching between guitar and keytar, while constantly maintaining pitch perfect vocals, Yeo leads The Fresh Goods through some of the best pop songs to come out of Brisbane in ages. From the funk of 'Study Buddy', to the bouncy reggae of 'Fishing With Aidan', and Pacman-pop of 'Two Sides Of A Door', Yeo proves that he is a musician of many influences, and, more importantly, that he is able to master them all. Hopefully Yeo will be the first of many Brisbane acts to successfully chase a style of music other than the standard indie rock/noise rock/punk rock affair.

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