It is refreshing to contemplate a tenth anniversary New Yorkers are all too happy to celebrate for a change. In September 2001, the month the world effectively shifted on its axis, DFA Records was born. This celebration at the 100 club, an ideal match of music and venue, found the label celebrating the end of its first decade with the band that kicked it off.
House of Jealous Lovers was the first 12″ release on DFA – recorded, of course, by The Rapture – so it was totally fitting they should be the headline act. Yet they were not far off being upstaged by their vibrant support. YACHT are a fully fledged duo these days, though to be honest they were more of a quintet here – and it suited them well.
Dystopia, with its striking refrain, “the Earth, the Earth is on fire, we don’t have no daughter, let the motherfuckers burn”, stood out, as did the lithe funk of I Walked Alone. The front pair, a striking Claire L Evans all clad in white and a more sombre but similarly arresting Jona Bechtolt, kept the audience both captivated and amused. Evans especially had a repertoire of poses and bendy dance moves that brought The Selector to mind, while other band members rotated between backing vocals, guitar, keyboards and drums. More a small musical community than a solo project for Bechtolt, as YACHT once was, they demonstrated great spirit and panache in a set that held the attention easily.
The Rapture, for some bizarre reason, were set up at one end of the 100 club stage, but despite Luke Jenner’s promise that he would ‘make it down the other end’, the crowd made his mind up for him by bunching near the entrance. Their mixture of post-punk and disco was a blueprint for the early sound of DFA, but it has developed considerably with the release of recent album In The Grace Of Your Love, due in part to the presence of Cassius‘ Philippe Zdar as producer.
This explained Come Back To Me, a gospel tinged number with a woozy accordion sound that provided one of the night’s most memorable moments, Jenner nailing his fiendishly high falsetto but with the crowd taking a moment to breathe and absorb rather than go for out and out dance mayhem. This they inevitably achieved in established Rapture classics Get Myself In To It, House Of Jealous Lovers and How Deep Is Your Love, already in the bag as a huge singalong moment despite the uncanny resemblance of its chorus to Sisqo‘s Thong Song.
Jenner and crew were clearly enjoying themselves, with Gabriel Andruzzi especially impressive as he moved between full throated saxophone and clattering percussion. If it was a warm up for the following night’s KOKO gig it didn’t show – rather, the genius of label founders Tim Goldsworthy and the immortal James Murphy came through. Their label has done them proud in its first decade, and who’s to say it won’t continue to lead the field come 2021?