In Concert: tUnE-yArDs
Merrill Garbus is determined to play by her own rules. As Tune-Yards, she has cut a sound of rock backbeats with complex polyrhythms for the last decade.
With her unkempt hair and a vibrant stripe of paint slashed across her face, Garbus welcomes attendees at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall literally in the dark.
The only lights, the harsh blasts of fluorescents, set an uncertain mood as she begins banging away.
Merrill Garbus is determined to play by her own rules.
Playing the fan favourite “Gangsta” early on, Merrill Garbus speeds up her delivery into an all-out wallop, accompanied y her bass player/collaborator, Nate Brenner. With a flood of percussion and nuanced harmonies, the initial stark stage lighting gives way to a technicolour explosion.
By contrast, her new album I Can Feel You Creep into My Private Life confronts challenging questions such as identity and appropriation in a manner that may have flown over many heads.
With a flood of percussion and nuanced harmonies, the initial stark stage lighting gives way to a technicolour explosion.
Gone are Tune-Yards’ confetti experimentations of the past, now replaced by a serious, more mature artist.
Nevertheless, Garbus manoeuvrs the texture and tempo of her loop effects with her most vital instrument: Her voice. On “Powa,” she effortlessly alternates from delicate songstress to possessed wailer, ukulele clutched tightly in hand.
There is a strong animalism to the entire evening, from Nate Brenner’s robust baselines to Merrill Garbus’ fearlessness.
With their sound so creative and modern, Tune-Yards almost seem like an anomaly in today’s music realm.