I really should have written this weeks ago. But it's been a bit of a tough one to write. It's fair to say that I have been putting it off.
Let me begin by saying I don't like reading "personal" reviews with first person references. Unless it's on your own blog, or you have a column specific to you, then there should be no appearance of the dreaded "I." This is obviously an exception. Y-O-U was one of the first – if not the first – local band I ever became a true fan of. They were the first band I wanted to put on the cover of the magazine I used to edit, Southeast Performer. And now they are the first local band I admired to break up.
It's almost like a coming-of-age period in one's life. It happens to every music fan. Paste even dedicated their last 1690 AM radio show to Georgia bands who should have been huge, but broke up before they managed to make good on the possibilities; they started off the show with Y-O-U.
The band said farewell in the only way possible, with an amazing show at Smith's Olde Bar. Y-O-U never fails to deliver – the members all play with fantastic precision, incredible talent and brilliant pop sensibilities that really should have taken them far – but this show was really something special. Bittersweet and shimmering, the band played through songs all the way back to classic tracks like "LA Lindsay" (the opener, glorious with its falsetto vocals) and the rough-and-tumble, power-pop "Radio" to tracks from the just-released Longplaying EP, like the sing-a-long inducing "Firefly."
Y-O-U also does simple, moving, heartfelt love songs of the more unusual kind
to perfection, as witnessed in a touching rendition of "Physics of
Giving," with a classic "slow dance" rhythm building to a powerful orchestra of all instruments and vocals churning the chorus of "It's all I'm asking for/All I'm asking for this year" falling into a positively Stax-worthy soulful "I will take what I can get" climbing in glorious Otis Redding fashion. And then there was "Going Down Swinging," with Nick Niespodziani's melancholy-meets-hopeful strumming backing up his soulfully-strained vocals sounding like they'd taken a bit of a beating, but not giving up without a fight. Though most likely about relationships, the closeness to the band's situation was unmissable ("It's a tough time to come up so empty/It's a strange time to be starting out"), and must have choked up more than a few local music fans in the audience.
The utterly charming and sweet – another one of those not-your-average love songs – "Moviekiss" ended the show. Being able to declare love in an utterly honest yet unschmaltzy way is indeed a talent, and the delivery of this song could not be improved on in that aspect. With a passion that from the pit, soaring vocals from both Niespodziani and bassist Peter Olson and furiously-strummed guitar riffs, all parts came together to make a massive wall of sound climbing higher and higher until the glorious noise had filled up the whole room.
The band then took a bow together, and left the stage. No encores were needed; the show was a beautiful capsule complete in its retrospective.
Good Luck With That American Dream
How to Say Goodbye
Going Down Swinging