The Yawns: The Basement, 24/1/13

Even though The Yawns are listed as the main act, all three of tonight’s acts have an equal playing time and rightly so, because in no way are the two other artists inferior. Asio’s Eyes enthusiastically opens the night with quirky indie pop and sharp hooks. As the frontman describes it himself, their music is all about “moving those shoulders”. The second act is totally different and therefore takes some getting used to after the energetic opening, but it’s not any less impressive. Dead Bird’s music is so beautiful and intimate, the whole room falls silent.

The sound of The Yawns closely resembles that of Californian band Craft Spells and at times it feels like they are actually covering their songs: the opening song “Summers Wasted” seems like a disguised copy of “Scandinavian Crush”. Whereas the musicians give a good and sound performance, the most striking element of tonight is the appearance and demeanour of frontman Sean Armstrong. As soon as he walks on stage, he comes across as extremely stoned and even slightly depressed. Merely a few minutes in, the singer feels it’s appropriate to ask the audience if they ever thought about suicide. It creates an awkward atmosphere at first, but after a while the honest Scot grows on you and it starts to get amusing.

As the night proceeds he finds it increasingly difficult to sing coherently, which makes the lyrics even more difficult to understand than the already pretty incoherent recordings. Sean is not comfortable within the confined space of the stage and often stumbles off. After a while he finally found his spot and decides to sit in the darkest and most secluded corner of the room where no one can see him, and sings the songs from there. The night ends with the song “I Believe in UFOs”, something that Sean is uneasy defining: “Well… if you wanna call it a song”.

While The Yawns were a pleasure to watch, Sean looked like he could pass out at any moment. I was relieved he lasted for the full half hour set considering the state he was in. Nevertheless, the band put out a great debut album, gave an overall reasonably good show, and come across as hard working, sincere people; they definitely deserve to be

Judith Borghouts