Yak Attack 12.31.18
The Goodfoot Pub and Lounge
Words by Maximo Menchaca
Photos by Coleman Schwartz Media
New Year’s Eve is a time for reflecting backwards and looking forwards. A concert is the perfect environment for resetting intentions. My usual haunt has been Umphrey’s McGee’s venue, but I know I made the right decision to spend my New Year’s Eve with Yak Attack and the “Yak Pak” at the Goodfoot this time.
Many of the audience members in attendance that night were some of the OG crew that first fell in love with the band. Being at a Yak Attack show is home for many of us. Getting it with a jam band is a great feeling, and Yak has “it” - that moment of sublime experience is an orgasm. In that groove, the brain dances as hard as the body. Once they hooked us, we were compelled to keep chasing that high. And so we came together around this trio right in our backyard. Feeling that connection and trust in a community of musicians and fellow fans is something that will never leave me.
The feeling is almost indescribable, but it was very present in the room throughout the night. Each set was a solid statement of the band’s past, present, and future. Fittingly, Kellen Asebroek (of Fruition) and Aniana, two of the trio’s oldest collaborators, were fixtures of both the dance floor and microphone. While Asebroek singing is styled after slow, dreamy R&B, Aniana has a feral and unbridled energy behind her voice.
Even though the band is only nearing their 6th birthday, the set made clear there is already a definite style and vintage Yak sound. Nick is a dynamo. I am amazed how he can power indefatigably through hours of music. He isn’t Yak’s first drummer, but he has become central to the group’s sound and ethos. Rowan is usually decked in a space invader hat, and it’s clear, no matter how tight his grooves are, that he is having fun - contagious fun! - filling in the space between Nick and Dave. And Dave himself… man. He is an absolute master at keys and guitar, and on top of that, makes live looping look simple. Doing any one of these things on their own is pretty damn impressive. His ability to build and loop earworm riffs on top of each other to create a tasty jam without sounding too muddled is a scary thing to pull off. But he does it! It’s a complete channeling of musical expression.
The group strikes the right balance in the live experience. They are extremely high-energy and dance-able, but don’t hit you with the same exhausting frequency all night. The trio sounds full and rich without being overwhelming. McConnell’s lighting work and lasers add the right extra flavor. At times evoking Lotus or STS9, the group is really all their own. Yak Attack have forged uplifting and infectious house music.
Kisses. Hugs. Shouts of ecstasy. The Earth has made it around the sun once more, and we all seek out new beginnings. And Yak Attack has plenty of that to look forward to. Their success on the festival circuit this year has brought them good fortune. After turning heads at Wave Spell this year, they are opening for Sound Tribe on their California dates later this month. Many newcomers were at the show all night, but once the ball dropped, the floor was a little roomier. No matter – people were still pushing up onto the stage, as packed, as close, and as connected.
I may not have a crystal ball, but I can look forward into 2019. A new era dawns for Yak. The rooms are getting bigger. 2018 was their first time headlining the Nectar Lounge in Seattle and their first time on stage at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. On New Year’s Eve, the faithful Yak Pak were there, like proud parents, excited to see them jump off into 2019. The band is going to go out there and the rest of the jam scene is going to discover the pride of the Northwest, Yak Attack. But on this night, for this set, they were still ours.
Set One: Hear the Sound, Oobdisk > Kinetic Dub Station > Birds of Paradise > Silence is the Enemy , Am I Wrong , U + Me (+ Us)
Set Two: Strange Water , Club Hit, Return of the Yak 
Set Three: Jellied Fire > Pump and Dump > Safety Third > Fixation > I’m Singin’ Everything , Heartbreaks and Setbacks , New Song (Untitled), Receiver 
 With Kellen Asebroek on vocals
 Anderson Paak, with Kellen Asebroek on vocals
 Midnight countdown with Kellen Asebroek
 Cover of “Return of the Mack” by Mack Morrison, with Kellen Asebroek and Aniana on vocals
 With Aniana on vocals
 Thundercat, with Kellen Asebroek and Aniana on vocals
 The New Deal