Living up to the venue’s name, deep red lights swirled around the Ruby Lounge’s floor as concertgoers bopped and grooved along to the set of vibrations coming from the Minneapolis-based band Yam Haus on the intimate stage.
As the dance-inspiring tune came to an end, lead vocalist and guitarist Lawrence Pruitt posed a question to the crowd.
“Who has class tomorrow morning?” Pruitt asked.
A vast majority of the attendees raised their hands. The crowd didn’t mind staying out late on a Wednesday night to listen and jam along to the band’s pop-punk tunes.
Consisting of Pruitt, bassist Zach Beinlich, guitarist Seth Blum and drummer Jake Felstow, Yam Haus delivered a solid setlist without room for slack.
Yam Haus prevented their show from turning into the standard pop-punk romp by utilizing a setlist that fulfilled different niches of the pop genre and incorporating venue specific nuggets throughout the show. This was most noticeable when “West Coast,” their most streamed song on Spotify, suddenly turned into “Jump Around” during the bridge as a nod to the Badger football tradition.
“My favorite shows are when we connect with people and people feel like they can let loose and have fun,” Felstow said.
The “Jump Around” bit and a closing zumba-esque dance party accomplished this vibe at the Madison show.
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Besides the brief House of Pain cover, the show consisted of songs from the band’s debut album Stargazer, which mainly deals with aspects of love.
While the lyrical content of the songs were fairly simplistic, I was always intrigued by what blend of pop would come out of the next song. No two songs had the same air, which is fairly uncommon for the typical boy band. I enjoyed the synth-heavy “Kingdom” as it brought a brighter vibe into the lovely Ruby space as much as I enjoyed “You Need Love,” a tune that would feel more at home among a playlist of ‘90s post-grunge songs than a 5 Seconds of Summer-inspired playlist.
The final track of the evening, “Grooving,” had a beat so infectious, the entire audience danced in sync with Pruitt’s directions. Despite its ubiquitous nature in the set, this song was the last composed for the album.
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“We had a manager that said the album needed one more hit,” Pruitt said. “The hipster in me felt a little sad, but we wrote ‘Grooving’ to fill that void. Now, it’s one of my favorites.”
The varied nature of the set made for a generally fun evening and the highly interactive band made it seem as though they were friends with the whole audience by the end of the night.
The band tries to keep this universal vibe outside of the touring realm as well, often showcasing different people and places along their journey as a part of their YouTube vlog series.
“Life gets a little stale when it’s solely about you, trying to highlight people on the way is part of our DNA,” Felstow said.
While the band hopes to return to Madison in the near future and create a second home out of Madison, the band will continue to tour around the midwest for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, their debut album Stargazer is available now for streaming on Spotify.