Sensory Overload: Yuze Boys keep things short and not-so-sweet at Café Bourbon St.
Yuze Boys mastered the art of making the audience want more during a recent Tuesday appearance at Café Bourbon St.
The newish punk quartet, which includes members of Goners (singer Alex Mussawir), Nervosas (guitarist Jeff Kleinman), Tastes Kinda Like Sad (drummer Winston Hightower) and Making Friends (bassist Kyle Bergamo), remained onstage only slightly longer than the average commercial break, bashing through the entirety of its frenetic, high-intensity set in under 10 minutes.
A fondness for brevity did little to lessen the music’s impact. Hightower and Fergamo anchored the rumbling low end, while Kleinman strangled out terse, tight riffs that hit like balled fists to the ribcage. Mussawir, in turn, alternated between animated mumbling — he delivered the opening number like an introvert fumbling his or her way through a class speech — and devil-may-care howls, shouting his reverb-laden vocals as though he were trapped at the bottom of a deep well.
The few words that could be pulled from the morass suggested songs steeped in romantic confusion, self-loathing and youthful angst. “She never called me,” the frontman appeared to groan on one slower, echo-y number. A second tune contained self-lacerating admissions (“It’s so pathetic”) far removed from its slash-and-burn delivery, the crew dispensing of the tune as quickly and violently as prime-era Tyson dismantling an overmatched opponent.
Psychic Wheels, in contrast, teased songs out a bit more. The band, fronted by singer/guitarist Spencer Morgan, tended toward tough, buzzing, vaguely psychedelic garage nuggets that reeked of black leather and pot smoke. Even in those moments Wheel’s words suggested fragility — “Kill me slow,” the players urged on one number — the music doled out the bruises, Morgan and Co. tossing out barbed riffs like sharpened elbows.
Messrs kicked off the evening with a combustible set that veered between deconstructed punk explorations (one song mimicked a half-working garbage disposal, alternating between noisy, junk-strewn outbursts and uneasy silence) and thrashing numbers that mimicked epic tantrums, the band’s singer whipping around the stage like an untethered kite. Occasionally the musicians stretched things out — the opening cut, for one, gradually built to a menacing drone — while others tunes were dispatched of with a brutal efficiency even Yuze Boys would have admired. —Andy Downing