Where do they keep the horses that ride around in Central Park? Horses are kept in barns, right? Following this logic, there must be some kind of barn in Manhattan storing a whole bunch of horses. Thus begins “Urban Barnyard,” a rock band formed in 2003 for the sole purpose of musically exploring the lives of nonhuman city-dwellers.
Drummer Daoud Tyler-Ameen ’06, along with his bandmates Casey, Phoebe and Dibs, are bringing their act to the Women’s Center this Friday at 9:30 p.m. Joining them will be The Wowz and …Ship.
Organizer Rachel Khong ’08 hopes that this will be the first in a series of concerts at Yale, in an effort to inject a little bit of fun into the rock-deprived student body. She aims to diversify the New Haven concert scene away from the Toad’s paradigm of Hanson and Flogging Molly, but more importantly, she says, “Yale is definitely in need of some good parties with good music.”
Anyone familiar with Raffi will remember how unstoppably fun songs about animals are, and Urban Barnyard promises to bring a rock-and-roll sensibility to the classic “Joshua Giraffe” concept. The songs and the stories are what are important to Barnyard, and so they don’t consider themselves restrained by genre when trying to express an animal.
“We like to do whatever fits the song best,” said Tyler-Ameen. “We have a folk song, a punk song, a reggae song, an arena rock song, a motown song … We do whatever we can.”
Maybe Yalies just defy classification, because The Wowz, a three-piece band with two Yale alums, define themselves as “Combining the eternal dolor of Hank Williams Sr. with the perverse humor of David Berman and the improbable harmonies of BEATLES FOR SALE.” They change their setup depending on the occasion, swinging from electric to acoustic guitars, from an electronic percussion lab to a bucket. Drawing strongly on traditions of American folk, TimeOut New York likens them to “a coked-up youth group sing-along.” They last played Yale in 2004, and have been pleased by the success of fellow alums like AM Radio, The Wind-Up Bird and the Dirty Projectors.
…Ship comes a bit closer to some kind of discernible self-definition, describing their band as “hyphy-punk,” and otherwise using the word “caffeinated” a lot when answering questions about the band. They’ve been to Yale before, playing at a house party on Edgewood last year under the moniker The Stovetops. Using “Pots, Pans, Pedals and Powerade,” Sam Bloch and David Knowles make visceral music that tries to rip raw the wounds of the heart and soul, and “will only play the Women’s Center once.” …Ship is “music that is failing to concentrate.” They find inspiration in every facet of the distracting world around them, attempting to glean pop music out of the harmonious cacophony of nature.
With a two dollar entry fee, this Friday’s Women’s Center concert is significantly cheaper than comparable shows in New York City. Factor in Metro-North, and you’re practically getting paid to come. Khong stresses that without student support, this kind of event will not be able to continue.
“We have no money!” she says.
Attempting to prove definitively that Yale students can still rock may be a tall order, and this Friday may prove an important acid test. But Tyler-Ameen is confident that a lack of enthusiasm in the Yale population is not the problem here: “If you make the path, there are legions of people who will walk it; I’m sure of that.”
So come, unless you hate music and fun and are a total loser.