All bands have nights when crowd turnout isn’t what they’d like. “We were really hoping to impress and fill this great room,” said Yarn frontman Blake Christiana to the intimate crowd that had gathered to hear the alt-country band Friday night at DC’s City Winery. Blake and the other members of Yarn handled the situation like complete pros. The audience got a two-hour show, complete with the band taking song requests; “Fussin’ and Fightin’” and “Schenectady” were popular with this crowd.
A group of women who know the band from their base in Raleigh came in just after the start of the show, and their presence seemed to really loosen the band up. Blake felt comfortable talking to and joking with them, and pretty soon he had eased into talking comfortably with the audience.
Though based in Raleigh now, Yarn originally formed in Brooklyn. For quite some time, Yarn was a five-piece unit. A few years ago, the band went through a bit of upheaval, leading to a change in personnel and slimming down to four players. Around the same time, the band moved its base to Raleigh.
Yarn is more turned up live. On their studio albums, I mistakenly thought Yarn was all acoustic, at least on many of their songs – that’s how subtle the electric guitar is. The electric guitar becomes much more obvious and prominent in their live performance, which is also louder than their studio sound.
After the show, the band simply walked out into the audience and chatted with their fans. I spoke briefly to Blake, and shared my thought that at least some of the attendance issue was due to the venue only recently opening and not yet being synced up with all of the concert tracking websites. Blake assured me that the band “had a blast.” He wasn’t particularly concerned about the turnout, as the band had recently drawn 300 people at another DC venue, The Hamilton.
Over the course of 2018, Yarn is releasing its “Lucky 13” series of “virtual 45s” monthly. A “virtual 45,” like a 45 record, has an A-side and a B-side song. Each download also includes an alternate version of one of those songs that will only be released through these virtual 45s – no streaming, ever – as well as artwork and lyrics. The seventh part of the series was just issued last Friday, July 13.
City Winery opened in April. A working winery with both a restaurant and a live music venue, it is part of a chain based in New York City, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Nashville, as well as DC. It will host several upcoming concerts of interest to our readers: Hayes Carll, Iris DeMent, Alejandro Escovedo and Joe Ely, Will Hoge, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Hot Tuna, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shooter Jennings, Lori McKenna, and Rhett Miller (of Old 97s).
Yarn is back in its stomping grounds in North Carolina for the rest of July. In early August, they’ll be in the Tri-State area. (Tour dates here.) Be sure to check them live out for a great time, and stop by their website today to get a copy of Lucky 13!