Classically trained violinists are supposed to be proper, and typically they are, but there is nothing typical — or proper — about Bobby Yang, as evidenced during his performance at Eddie’s Attic in downtown Decatur over the weekend.
The moment Yang stepped on stage the energy of the whole room changed — almost like the whole audience was collectively holding its breath. Maybe they were because with the opening note, Yang forever changed the way I think about violins and the people who play them. The notes he creates on the instrument are some that I didn’t think it could possibly make.
Don’t get me wrong. I read the reviews and I listened to snippets of his music online before heading out for the full Bobby Yang experience, but there is something entirely different about listening to his music online and seeing him perform in person. For one thing, he smiles the entire time he’s playing. It’s a little weird at first, but it starts to grow less disconcerting as the evening wears on and you realize that Yang just really, really loves what he does and seems to want everyone around him to love it too. Mission accomplished.
With fingers’ flying at an alarming speed and bow strings whipping in the air like gossamer cords, Yang moves from Nirvana to Stone Temple Pilots to Lynyrd Skynyrd without missing a beat. In between the songs he gives introductions of his band mates, The Unrivaled Players, anecdotes from past concerts and dedications of his songs. Yang is like a backup singer while his violin takes lead vocals.
He takes rock songs and throws a whole new spin on them. They’re the same but the sound is different — purer somehow — when it’s being forced out of the violin. I’ve never cared for Led Zeppelin, but listening to Yang coax "Kashmir" out of a violin gives the song a whole new flavor.
Words aren’t necessary; it’s all about the music, the way it makes you feel and the talent it took to create originally. Yang’s amazing abilities make it all seem new again. In the era of The Jonas Brothers and The Pussycat Dolls it’s nice to see someone who cares more about the music and the fans than about ending up on Perez Hilton’s blog.
For more information about Yang, visit www.bobbyyang.com, and for information on Eddie’s Attic — a fantastic little venue — visit www.eddiesattic.com.