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Yeasayer Use Percussion to Keep Lollapalooza Crowd Mellow

August 1, 2008 11:15 PM ET

For a band whose sound is so manic, Yeasayer played it cool during their Friday afternoon set. The Brooklyn quartet's African beats, tropical samples and Middle Eastern drones brought a taste of the world to Grant Park, while its loose grooves kept the mood laid back and the audience cool. Percussion reigned supreme. Nothing that could be hit with a mallet, drumstick or hand was safe. And despite the serious look on his face, vocalist-keyboardist Chris Keating spread positive messages and entertained with robotic dance moves. Songs such as "Wait for the Summer" and "2080" rattled with psychedelic intent, while "No Need to Worry" summed up why the group's music went down so easily.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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