May 16, 2003
The Tabernacle-Atlanta


Year Of The Rabbit:

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Year Of The Rabbit are friends of Pete Yorn. They really haven’t played much outside of L.A. so to say this tour is a big break and great gift from their more successful compatriot is a huge understatement.

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Mixing an ‘80s retro-vibe ala Interpol with the big sweeping choruses of arena rock and the self-awareness of indie rock, Year Of The Rabbit have come up with a potentially contagious mixture.

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This is something that could break through to the public and still maintain its dignity. We’ll see. I liked ‘em tonight.

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Grandaddy already has its cult audience, but the crowd reaction here was mixed at best.

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At one point, (during a too long lull between songs) someone yelled, “Go home!” To which the front man responded, “We’re in the blue bus out back. We’ll meet you there after the show.” The menace of his response betrayed the quiet resilience of the music.

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Adding more ‘70s Moog sounds to a base of sound not unlike The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy was a pleasant, slow motion, Quaalude of a band. Displaying footage of forest creatures and mountain scenery behind them, their set was relaxing, never pointed and satisfying.

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Pete Yorn:

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It’s always cool to watch an artist develop. Pete Yorn has grown so much over the last two years that it’s hard to describe. When I first saw him in ‘01, he appeared reluctant to be on stage. He mumbled in the shadows and seemed easily rattled. The 2003 model is a whole different beast. Having now had time to grow into his sudden celebrity, Yorn took the stage in Atlanta with a confidence and showmanship pretty much unseen in such talented singer-songwriters.

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Opening with “Come Back Home,” he teased the crowd with a low-lit intro before all the lights came up and he cut loose with a varied, rocking and fun 21-song set. One of the best things about seeing Pete Yorn live is the differences in the songs from the records. On the recording of “When You See The Light,” there’s a dancey undertone and stronger beat. Live, there is more subtlety and the number takes on an “Everybody Hurts” meets “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” vibe. Audience favorites like “For Nancy,” “Murray,” “Black” and “Closet” rock a lot more. The power chords have more sting, the words weigh more and the beat moves you out of your seat. The funny new “Burrito” continues that tradition.

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On the other side, Pete can deliver a beautifully painful ballad like “Lose You” without a trace of irony or pretense. Plus, I’m a sucker for a song that connects with its target. Hearing the crowd sing-a-long while dazzling colors spin through a room still excites me. In addition to the obvious choices, Yorn chose some more obscure tracks (“Undercover,” “Knew Enough To Know Nothing At All”) and  a few well-placed covers. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a Springsteen song in sight. Tonight, he chose The Cure’s “In Between Days” and The Stone Roses’ “She Bangs The Drums” before winding it all up with a raving, full-tilt version of “Life On A Chain.” Near the end, he took the time to thank the nearly packed house and declare that he’d be back in a few months with “some local band.” There are more similarities between that local band and Pete than some would want to admit. Maybe when he comes back through with R.E.M. in October, a new group of people will see what a talent Yorn is now and get a glimpse of what’s to come. Pete’s still developing as an artist and an entertainer. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

 Chris McKay/

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