Saw them last weekend: Yukon Blonde

Nothing ups expectations like a well-placed wave of buzz, and Yukon Blonde’s sets at CMW generated just that. So, naturally, a decent crowd assembled at the Palomino on Saturday night to check out CMW’s highest-ranked band.

And, man, it’s not hard to see how they earned that title. There’s nothing particularly progressive about Yukon Blonde’s sound — it’s basically Fleet Foxes played louder, or a modern take on The Byrds — but they absolutely nail it. I can’t remember the last time I heard a band this tight that still managed to be fun; there wasn’t so much as a flubbed note, even during some raucously noisy solos and rich four-part vocal harmony.

With the amount of buzz they’re building within the industry and their overwhelmingly crowd-pleasing shows, it’d be surprising if these guys don’t get much, much bigger, and soon. They’re back at The Gateway on April 16; if you want to see them before they’re playing Mac Hall, you might want to swing by.

As for openers, I walked in for the last song in Wayfarer‘s set, so not much to say about this Calgary three-piece except that their take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” was suitably rockin’. They definitely have the chops, so I’m curious to see if they have the songs.

Steam Engine followed it up with a set of solid, Sebadoh-ish indie rock. Singer Keith Daser kind of reminds me of a less squirrely version of Hot Little Rocket’s Andrew Wedderburn (not so much on their MySpace, though), and even though the band’s live show is a bit low-key at this point, it’s also pretty fresh-faced. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them around more often.

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