“I like to play in these live settings because nobody has any idea what I’m saying on the record,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah statesman Alec Ounsworth quipped to an audience of 50, sitting indian-style on a rug, before launching into a bright folkie bare version of Some Loud Thunder‘s lead anti-hype fist of a title track, clear as ever in its caterwauling self-deprections: [LISTEN]
Not that Ounsworth is always kicking himself when he’s down – clap your hands people, and shout some ‘yeahs’ – but a lot of his anecdotes and song choices last night were cut with the same kind of wanderlust or yearning that blew the band up in 2005, minus the Talking Heads-Neutral Milk Hotel scrap-happy cruise of the full outfit. At one point he mentioned he felt like he was “starting over” these days.
Perhaps this was the setting – part of a homegrown indie collective’s push – Undertow – to tap the lovely friends and fans of a handful of artists and host events in people’s living rooms, kitchens, lofts, etc. Though Ounsworth did also mention he had a 102-degree fever the other night, as well.
All in good cathartic fun, anyhow, the 36-year-old had plenty of jokes at his own expense, bouncing around his fear of the mountains, how Bowie probably only came to an early CYHSY show because he heard his name in a lyric (“Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)” and of course his wavering vocal quirk. Jaded, but somehow, songs even in their bare acoustic form, accessing an onward and upward vibe: [LISTEN]
Certainly was a little book club-ish, therapy-esque, people not even having to shout to toss out song requests, the couple that own the house, their grade-school-aged son busting open the front door to announce that he’s getting his playing cards, Ounsworth rebutting self-deprecations from CYHSY’s three records with a deep moonshine covers, movie soundtrack contributions and his solo record Mo Beauty, earnest about painting things that could be damn black a shade of optimistic white “What Fun:” [LISTEN]
And just as it’s always a buzzkill to be on the cut off at the end of a therapy session, just when you get warm and rolling, Ounsworth would’ve kept thumbing his way through a yellow legal pad chock full of tracks to play, but in the land of living rooms, there are always more to convene in. Which judging by the smile on Ounsworth face at the end of it all, is a great door to get to open right about now.