Yonatan Gat @ JNR
When: Wed. June 4th
Where: Joyful Noise Recordings
Who else: Yip Deceiver, Oreo Jones
I arrived late, per usual, just catching “Thanks, we’re Yip Deceiver” before the in-between-sets music faded in and the first band began breaking down their equipment. I quickly found a familiar face, asking what I had missed, if I could bum a cigarette to kill some time before the next set, and grabbed a beer. I wandered downstairs and outside into a circle of mostly unknown attendees. It was a pretty low key crowd. Everyone seemed to be prepared for what was about to happen when Yonatan Gat performed, making short remarks, like “This is about to be insane” and “He goes so hard, man”.
I had met him the previous day as I was fulfilling my intern duties, scanning Twitter for posts about Kishi Bashi, and watching the latest Lil Bub video (for research) when he and his bandmates came in to pick up some records for their tour. He was nice and fairly quiet, the way someone is when they enter a room of people they don’t know yet. So, my expectation for his live performance was wavering on totally crazy or pretty lax. You can never tell with the quiet ones.
What he gave me and the rest of wednesday’s crowd was something bordering complete perfection and total mind control. From the get go, the performance was electric. Yonatan set me in a trance with his guitar, which was jazzy, but totally punk at the same time, and then suddenly, a snap from the drums would send the entire set into a whirlwind of riffs and improvised drum beats.
Most impressive were these improvisations, involving crowd participation, chanting, and at one point, Yonatan just de-tuning his guitar in the most sonically pleasing way I’ve ever experienced. The band was fully immersed in the room, shuffling around, turning on and off lights at certain parts in the set, entering the crowd, really having total control over the room, which was an exact reflection for all three of their talents. When a song began to get too fast or too involved for me to follow, they kept it together, testifying to their solidity as a trio.
After their set, I had to leave; not because I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t possibly take any more rock’n’roll (though a little true), but because I promised to get drunk with some friends elsewhere. I left thinking about how the quiet ones are the most surprising.
If you want to experience the Gat for yourself, check out Kotonou, the third track on his new album, which you can purchase here!