New York – Saturday night’s showing at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar was like a circus brawl. The indoor-arcades, multiple bars, food trucks and craft vendors always lend a clattering backdrop for the venue’s weekly free concerts, and Saturday night was no exception. The ever-vibrant locale was the ideal environment for Yellow Ostrich, who mirrored the arts-geared, dynamic energy of the indoor marketspace.
BuzzChips and Pancakes and Whiskey collaborated to host the evening, which saw performances from DJ Rugue Tripper, Sun Club, Cruiser and Fort Lean. The evening’s headlining act was Brooklyn’s own Yellow Ostrich, whose lead singer Alex Schaaf revealed that he lived close enough to walk to the gig. It’s a notable admission, that belies the heavy sense of community at the Bazaar.
Yellow Ostrich began in 2009, building off of Schaaf’s solo recordings with a 4-track recorder in his bedroom. As a music student at Lawrence University, Schaaf once opened for Bishop Allen with his friend, drummer Michael Tapper. Schaaf and Tapper maintained a friendship, and eventually formed Yellow Ostrich following Tapper’s relocation to Brooklyn.
In 2011, they released The Mistress and signed to Barsuk Records. Around that time, they recruited the talented Jon Natchez, who had stints with The Antlers, Beirut and Camera Obscura. Their sophomore LP, Strange Land, followed in 2012. Natchez left the band shortly thereafter, and the group grew by a factor of two as Jared Van Fleet and Zach Rose officially joined the ranks.
Cosmos is Yellow Ostrich’s latest release, which dropped in February. Thematically, the record explores deep space. During the writing process, Schaaf studied the greats such as Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, and the record takes its name from Sagan’s original 1980’s PBS series.
The band didn’t begin until around midnight, but delivered a near full hour of unstoppable, bewitching live incarnations of their tracks once on stage. The set list drew mainly from their latest album, but an a few old favorites weaved their way in (“Whale” was one, for which the crowd was most grateful).
Silhouetted against explosive geometric graphics, the band lyrically explored the intergalactic abyss. Out in orbit, Yellow Ostrich’s work serves as a graceful reminder that the great unknown is omnipresent. However, the local audience gathered together helped to hammer home the fact that communing always helps to battle the disquiet of vast and unknowable uncertainties.
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