As frontman Alex Schaaf noted at the beginning of their set, this was Yellow Ostrich’s third time playing at Black Cat but their first time headlining. The sold out crowd at Black Cat seemed to realize the subtle significance of this statement. The band’s popularity has changed quite a bit since recording Strange Land. The critically acclaimed album has put them on a clear path to indie stardom. Their inclusion in this year’s Lollapalooza line-up should be enough proof. Needless to say, last night, their fans were psyched.
The first thing you notice about Yellow Ostrich is that, for three members, they have a lot of gear. I counted at least 40 foot pedals, three different horns, and a steel pedal guitar to go along with the traditional set of instruments. Once the show kicked off, it was impressive to watch Schaaf and multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez harmonize and play off each other in innumerable ways. The way they kept track of so many things at once, you would think in another life they were air traffic controllers.
The set started with “Whale”, a surprise from Schaaf’s first album, The Mistress. Schaaf’s superb vocals were in full display from the get go, and drummer Michael Tapper’s minimalist kit somehow provided for some complex percussion. By the time “Marathon Runner” rolled around, the entire crowd joined the band in singing every, single, word. “Daughter” and “Elephant King” brought a good amount of energy into the show, and pretty much everyone was frothing at the end as they listened to “The Shakedown”. The encore started with a nice surprise version of The Talking Heads’ “Heaven” and closed out with a powerful rendition of “Mary”.
All in all, a great set from an up-and-comer on the indie circuit. They are a talented trio, destined for the main stage when they come back to the District. Check out some pictures from the show after the jump.