Review: yeule and Sasami at Black Cat

Though I was bummed to miss most of WGTBxWRGW’s Battle of the Bands to attend this show on Thursday, October 19th, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to see yeule after they released one of my favorite albums of 2023, softscars, just under a month ago. It was also my first time going to Black Cat (a great venue, so check it out if you haven’t).

Walking in, I immediately noticed the platform decorated with lamps and wooden chairs in addition to the usual fare like drums and stands for the mics and guitars. All the “furniture” was draped in ripped white chiffon and lace. The stage felt like the audience was peering into the bedroom of a life-size dollhouse, fictional yet intimate, which can be said about much that yeule does artistically as they craft their persona to represent the deepest parts themself.

Despite releasing an album last year, Sasami opened the show solo with unreleased, unperformed demos that she sang and played guitar over. Many of the tracks deviated from the sound on Sasami’s last album, Squeeze, pivoting from harder rock like industrial and metal to pop-rock, shoegaze, and electronic sounds. Despite being onstage alone, her energy was infectious as she bounced around the stage to keep the whole crowd engaged and moving along to the music. She also took a moment to explain the vibe of each song before playing them so the crowd could follow along better since we were unfamiliar.

After a costume and makeup change, Sasami reappeared with yeule as part of a trio, composed of them and Sasami as guitarists and a drummer. Both yeule and Sasami were dressed like they were in a Tim Burton film or on a Vivienne Westwood runway, matching the design of the stage. Both also wore heavily painted faces of makeup.

yeule opened their set playing a solo acoustic version of “Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty,” a track from their second studio album, Glitch Princess, which in a pared-down iteration, was even more intimate. After the opener, the band launched into material from softscars. Though the sound on softscars has a tangible rock influence, the tracks are still electronic pop songs at heart. The adaptation of softscars into a live performance pushed the instruments—two guitars (sometimes one acoustic one electric, sometimes two electric) and drums—into a much more central role. The change became really noticeable once they were a few songs in, since they opened with many softer ones, and performed another track off of Glitch Princess, “Electric.” After the softly sung opening verse, the song breaks up into an electronic, distorted wail. In the studio version, there’s barely any percussion, but live, the drummer crashed down on the drums, taking over each instrumental section. “Electric” also shifted the set from the slower, softer songs to the those that were more up-tempo and dancier, like “dazies,” “cybermeat,” and “softscars.”

Between songs, yeule also took time to joke around with the crowd and their band, emphasizing their desire that they and the crowd don’t take things too seriously.

They ended the show on two tracks, the closing one from softscars, “aphex twin flame,” and then for the encore, “Bites on My Neck,” from Glitch Princess. The songs offered a balance between the softer, more thoughtful, and rock-infused yeule music with the former and dancy, up-tempo pop with the latter, which got the crowd moving one last time.

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