YACHT and White Fang: A Religious Experience?

Tucked away on Chestnut Street is the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, a unique, intimate venue, where you walk down a set of stairs to the basement and head into a small, tile-floored room.  When you look around for a door into the pit, but upon seeing some guitars and drums on top of a stage with a multi-colored, checkerboard carpet, you will realize that the whole room is the pit.

When White Fang, a punk band from Los Angeles, California, begins to play, there are only about twenty people in the room, but this only makes the four members of White Fang act more eccentrically.  As the set goes on, each member of the band gradually removes their shirt until the performance looks like an underwear catalog gone wrong.

Photo by HoJun Yu

White Fang’s music is simple yet honest (“This is a song about sleeping bags. Because we’re in a band”). They’re like a less-developed version of The Orwells they don’t care about their image, and as long as they’re having fun, they don’t care if only twenty people are in the crowd, which is refreshing.

As YACHT prepares to take the stage, the venue suddenly becomes packed. When the lights dim, a voice over the loudspeaker tells the audience that flash photography is encouraged, and that they should not silence their cell phones.

Photo by HoJun Yu

YACHT is fronted by Claire Evans, a lanky woman who rocks a bleach blonde pixie cut and Nike sneakers. They sound like a mix between The Ting Tings and Of Montreal, and the giant metallic CDs on stage only enhance their poppy sound.

Evans is an incredible entertainer at one point, she jumps off stage and runs around the pit, and the audience members make sure that her microphone cord does not get tangled.  She dances robotically like St. Vincent, and the chemistry she has with her fellow bandmates is endearing.

In between songs, YACHT banters with the crowd.  When a fan asks if YACHT likes Wawa (this seems to happen a lot at Philly gigs), the band launches into a rendition of “Psychic City (Voodoo City)” where instead of singing “Aye, aye, aye-ah,” they sing, “Wawa, wawa.”

From the religious ambiance of First Unitarian Church, White Fang’s shirtless antics and frequent drug references and YACHT’s synergic energy, YACHT and White Fang’s tour stop in Philly was not your typical gig.  But atypical does not mean badif you keep an open mind, a YACHT/White Fang show was and can be a ton of fun.

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