After convincing the door guy that the tiny spray bottle in my purse was only full of hair product and not .05 liters of alcohol or chemical weaponry I was allowed to enter the circus that is Neumos on a Friday night.

Artsy (not crummy) iPhone pic of A Weekend at the Feelies.
  • Katie Martin
  • Artsy (not crummy) iPhone pic of A Weekend at the Feelies.

Fairly new local chillwavers, A Weekend at the Feelies got things going with some well-crafted dreamy shoegaze. At first I was momentarily disappointed that they were not a Feelies cover band, but that feeling soon dissipated as they provided bright, summery guitar riffs and distant echoing vocals that all eventually converged into pleasant indie-pop jingles. At times, A Weekend at the Feelies slid into a noticeably more experimental and dissonant realm, but their drummer, with his clean, crisp beats, kept the melodies grounded against a chasm of sonic distortions. Their ethereal set reminded me of an underwater Arcade Fire (or an on land Ducktails) which is not to say extinguished, but rather harmoniously stretched and pulled like salt water taffy.

Jules Jones, bassist of Ephrata.
  • Katie Martin
  • Jules Jones, bassist of Ephrata.

Connoisseurs of sweetness and light, local four piece, Ephrata, took to the stage next looking like the loveliest, dewiest church band with two matching dresses and an air of genuine excitement about them. This demeanor wasn't shaken as they delivered song after song of punchy, jubilant tunes. Their set was lively with swells of crashing cymbals that make you feel all the feelings and harmonies (they all sing!) that fused together as seamlessly as honey in a cup of tea. Bucolic with a bite.

When Yuck began their set I was standing behind a guy wearing a Dinosaur Jr. sweatshirt with one of those phone watches wrapped around his wrist, like some kind of poster boy for '90s throwback rock in 2014. In other words, everything felt right, you know? I was curious to see how Yuck would handle their set list with the absence of former vocalist Daniel Blumberg, but to my surprise they played almost equal parts old and new songs, off of both their most recent album, Glow & Behold (sans Blumberg), and their 2011 self-titled debut album. As the bassist, Mariko Doi, sang "The Wall" in her gentle, warm voice, I realized that this version might resonate more strongly with me, emotionally, than Blumberg's sharper snarl.

Yuck in their natural hazy habitat.
  • Katie Martin
  • Yuck in their natural hazy habitat.

They performed two new, unreleased songs, each with the same tenacity and spark as their highly lauded first album. The crowd was elated and I saw people actually smiling real smiles with their teeth, and not because they were reliving their flannel-wearing high school days of yore or whatever, but because Yuck's performance was frenetic and their songs are catchy as hell.