Monday was not for the mundane in Lawrence. Scores of people packed tightly into the Jackpot like sardines to hear the charming and almighty wails of tUnE-yArDs. Scenesters plastered themselves up against the walls, stood on chairs, and crouched at the front of the stage to catch the ever-so-powerful punch that comes from a knockout tUnE-yArDs show.
Earlier this year, Merrill Garbus and company were set to play Lawrence over the summer. But complications happened (we’ll keep that information confidential), and the locals were forced to wait for the rescheduled show. Several months later, our patience paid off.
tUnE-yArDs at the Jackpot
The Jackpot was filled to the brim, so the saxophone soldiers in the band held their instruments high, leading the way from the back of the venue towards the stage. Then cam their fearless leader. Garbus, with war paint striped across her face, lead the Jackpot crowd with her loops and battle cries. They chanted back to her demands:
“Do you wanna live?!”
“Do you wanna live?!”
Her audience remained captivated for the rest of the night. The lyrics were mighty, and the audience was obedient, loyal and devoted. They belonged to her completely. They swayed during the slower songs, and raised their arms in triumph during the robust ones. It’s a delicate balancing act Garbus performs, switching between crooning lyricist and mighty musical leader.
Welcome back to Lawrence, tUnE-yArDs. This was well worth the wait.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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