On Wednesday (12/7), I got the chance to see WATERS open for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at NY’s Webster Hall.
WATERS, a four man band from San Francisco led by Van P, played songs from their first record to a packed room (the show was sold out).
For the opening song, the drummer played with a tambourine in one hand and a stick in the other hand, creating a unique percussive wall of sound. The songs were more energetic and lush live than on the album, and they benefited from the more driving, rockier feel of the drums.
A drum-driven instrumental break segued into the song “Back To You,” one of the highlights of WATERS’ set. Towards the end of this song, I noticed that the drummer broke one of his sticks, but he recovered immediately.
Before the last song, Van switched to an acoustic guitar and explained that he wrote the song “Mickey Mantle” when he was living in New York for a little while. To my surprise, he came down from the stage (along with his bandmates) and stood in the middle of a circle of people in the crowd.
Playing the last song unplugged was a good idea (a la Brandi Carlile with “How These Days Grow Long”), but in reality it was terribly disappointing. Unless you were lucky enough to be standing close enough to the band, it was impossible to hear anything. People entering the room had no idea that anything was going on — they couldn’t see and couldn’t hear, so everyone started talking to each other, making it even more difficult to hear the song.
(Partial) solution: I left Webster Hall listening to “Mickey Mantle” on my iPhone.
WATERS is touring Europe in February with Nada Surf.
Words and photos by Suzanne Raga for After The Show. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.