Concert Review: Olden Yolk @ DC9 (5/19/19)

Olden Yolk Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer of Olden Yolk (Photo from FB @oldenyolk)

“I guess Game of Thrones is a big deal.” – Shane Butler

Speaking to the small, but enthused crowd at DC9 on May 19th, Shane Butler of Olden Yolk mused that it was unfortunate their show was scheduled against Game of Thrones’ series finale. Indeed, and not to mention a few other good concerts around town that night.

But Olden Yolk, from New York, comprised of Caity Shaffer and Shane, and a backing band of three, performed an enjoyable set of indie, psych rock songs, that sometimes trend to folk sounds. Those that gave them a chance left content with the experience, and knowing GoT would still be waiting to stream.

Coming to DC on the third night of their tour, they are promoting their second album, Living Theatre. The title comes from a movement in New York of the same name, where actors create an experience of communal expression.

They kicked off the night with “240 D”, reverb heavy and bold, with lyrics about death. During the song, with a smile, the drummer waved an item of bells and strings as if warding off demons.

Next came the sunnier “Cut to the Quick” and “Vital Sign”, for which Caity sang wistfully from her keyboard stand. Shane and Caity traded off vocal duties for the nine songs they played overall. Keeping the theme of upbeat, “Cotten & Cane” really got the crowd moving, featuring a killer guitar hook.

“Grand Palais”, one of six songs they played from Living Theatre, was a great indie rock song performed live, transporting us in mood with an eclectic mix of musical choices, even some I could imagine comprising the soundtrack of a deep sea submarine adventure.

“Takes One To Know One” started with a cool drum intro, then Shane intoned an epic prog rock anthem, while Caity produced forlorn notes from the keyboard with an occasional backing vocal. The best song they played in the set.

They ended with “Distant Episode”, a beautiful, but chilling song sang by Caity about a linguist who had his tongue cut out (Paul Bowles). Portending that maybe we were getting our GoT episode after all. The song, though short, builds towards a haunting mood, with something akin to chilling sci-fi notes interspersed throughout.

Take a moment to get Living Theatre, and make sure you give them a chance next time they visit DC, there shouldn’t be any excuses.

240 D
Cut to the Quick
Vital Sign
Cotton & Cane
Blue Paradigm
Grand Palais
Castor & Pollux
Takes One To Know One
Distant Episode

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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