“There’s a lot of heartbreak when you’re on tour. … I don’t know.”
Zach Yudin followed this introduction to “Deep Sea” with a self-deprecating laugh before his band, Cayucas, eased into the loungey tune at the Parish in Austin on Sunday. As lead singers go, Yudin is pretty unassuming. It’s not that he doesn’t take his art seriously — more that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. This gives the whole Cayucas live performance the feeling of a sleepy fever dream underwater in TV static. It’s hazy, lazy, and melancholic, and yet somehow still manages to be danceable.
The night started lucidly enough. The band started off with their most Vampire Weekend-esque tune, “Moony Eyed Walrus,” with fast-paced words punctuating plinking guitar riffs. The winking “Hella” was next, paying homage to California slang. The band’s namesake song was one of the most upbeat of the night, with driving acoustic guitar rhythms and peppy drums.
The biggest complaint to be made was that Yudin and his team didn’t say more. They’re a band focused on delivering their songs rather than forced banter, which is understandable — but every time Yudin said something, it was engaging and humorous. After the biggest sing-a-long of the night, “High School Lover,” one of the guys asked, “Did any of you have a high school lover? … Zach’s got married.” Yudin responded, “That’s true. The girl got married. I need to tell her about that song. She doesn’t know yet…I feel like I shouldn’t tell her. She wouldn’t care.” This internal-debate-said-aloud was endearing and gave the band’s most grabbing pop tune a little extra meaning. If that kind of insight had been provided to more of the tracks, they might have stuck around longer in the psyche, rather than melting away into the hot Texas night, as they did.
For Cayucas fans who showed up early, they were treated to an opener who really stole the show. Hibou (pronounced “eee-boo”) played surf rock dreamy enough to really compliment a Sunday night, and their aesthetic (particularly lead singer Peter Michel’s) made it plausible that, if the fictional band Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure came to be today, they might be Hibou, instead. The intoxicating music was matched only by the band’s charisma — guitarist Jay Clancy was enchanted by the light show, praising the Parish’s lighting guy by saying, “Team lights — you outdid yourself on that one.” Michel invited the audience back to the merch booth to say hi, “Even if you just come to tell us, ‘I really hated you up there,’ we’ll say, ‘Cool, thank you, so nice to meet you!’” With an unexpected but moody and cool cover of Gorillaz “Kids With Guns,” gorgeous and layered original songs and an apparent passion for making music, it’s hard to believe anybody could hate this band.
Whether attendees went to the Parish for dancing or dreaming on a Texas summer Sunday night, Cayucas and Hibou made sure that everyone was taken care of.