Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Show review: Cayucas at Schubas, 6/29

By Quinn Donnell

photo by cara robbins
As Chicago settles into summer, its music scene apparently follows. Cayucas, the indie pop five-piece fronted by California native Zach Yudin, made an appearance at Schubas Saturday night, bringing with them the relaxed, sun and surf vibes crafted by their beach rock sounds.

I first heard Yudin’s music in 2011 when he began self-releasing his material online under the pseudonym Oregon Bike Trails. After signing with Secretly Canadian last year and changing his moniker to Cayucas, Yudin recorded his debut album Bigfoot with the Shins’ Richard Swift. Yudin then put together a touring band composed of his twin brother Ben on bass, Christian Koons on guitar, Banah Winn on keyboards, and Casey Wojtalewics on drums. Since joining Ra Ra Riot on a west coast tour at the beginning of the year, the band played shows in Europe and South By Southwest before making their way through Chicago this weekend.

After listening to Yudin’s music for the past several years, the opportunity to see him and his band make their first trip to the Windy City sounded like a perfect way to spend a Saturday evening, which ended up being a popular thought process for many Chicago music fans as Cayucas played for the first sold out crowd of their young career.

The capacity-capping audience came ready for Cayucas’ good time tunes, creating a raucous atmosphere for the opening act, JBM, a one-man-band made up of Jesse Marchant, whose acoustic ballads were played over a notably talkative Schubas audience. Merchant’s attitude proved to be just as smooth as his music, however, as he paid no attention to the obviously audible crowd.

While the room full of rambunctious concertgoers felt somewhat unsuitable for the opener’s singer-songwriter style, Cayucas provided the perfect soundtrack for a venue of groovin’ Chicagoans. Their set included ten songs, eight of which composed the entirety of Bigfoot.

For reasons that weren’t provided by the band, the absence of Banah Winn on keys forced each track to take on a more stripped down sound, but the garage band style of material played by the four remaining members proved to be a fresh interpretation of the high-quality Bigfoot production. The alternative versions of Bigfoot tracks offered the band room to improvise and transform their songs; the mellowed-out, reverb-heavy “Will the Thrill” became an extended jam involving Yudin shaking his tambourine and dancing around the diminutive stage in a manner not unlike the packed-in crowd.

As Cayucas finished their set, Yudin assured Chicagoans they’d be back in town soon. Assuming their succeeding appearance takes place next season when the city’s at its windiest, the opportunity to see Cayucas will be a nice reminder of the summer months.

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