*All photos by Sean O’Connor
Walking into my first concert at Foellinger, I was not sure what to expect. It is not a gigantic venue like Assembly Hall, but it’s not quite as confined as the Canopy Club. That being said, I was definitely not disappointed because Clap Your Hands Say Yeah definitely rocked the house.
They immediately came off with great stage presence, making jokes with the audience right off the bat. The turnout was not gigantic (nor was it exceptionally small either), so it had a very intimate feel. I’ve been to a few concerts in my lifetime where the crowd did not stand up during the show, and this was one of them. I was not surprised; the style of their music is pretty laid back, so it’s not outrageous for the audience to sit in its seats and just tap its feet along.
I particularly enjoyed the band’s use of harmonica. A harmonica can really get overplayed at live shows, so a band really has to know how to do it right. Alec Ounsworth, lead vocalist and guitarist, did a great job working it into the songs. I also really liked the fact that Robbie Guertin and Lee Sargent kept switching instruments. If Guertin was playing keyboards, Sargent was playing guitar, and vice-versa. At one point, they were both playing on the same keyboard.
Guertin also just had a phenomenal stage presence; he was easily the band’s funnyman. I knew it was going to be an interesting show right from the start when Guertin joined Sean Greenhalgh on the same set of drums. You could also tell that Greenhalgh and bassist Tyler Sargent had great chemistry, because they were constantly nodding at one another when the other would do something that particularly stood out during the show, such as when Greenhalgh added a final fun tap to his drum at the end of one of their songs.
In the middle of the show, one of the coolest things I have ever seen happen at a concert took place. Seemingly on cue, almost the entire audience jumped up from their seats at once and stood at the front of the stage, all dancing together and having a great time. People were running in from the side doors; I honestly thought it was a flash mob. The energy was insane. Ounsworth said it best when he mentioned, “Man, we really should have opened up with that song,” because for the rest of the concert the crowd was going crazy at the front of the stage. I don’t know if the last couple songs were just crowd pleasers or if the audience was just more into it because they were standing up, but the whole atmosphere of the concert completely changed after this point. Even the band seemed to be having a bit more fun once this happened.
Overall, excellent performance. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was very appreciative that their fans were willing to come out in the rain and sacrifice some studying time. It was a great study break.