YACHT Lee's Palace, Toronto ON May 2

YACHT Lee's Palace, Toronto ON May 2
On record, Portland, OR's YACHT -- multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jona Bechtolt and primary vocalist Claire L. Evans -- absolutely exude hipness, indie chic or whatever the hell you want to call it. Live, they're something different: Evans walked onstage wearing what can only be called a new-age catsuit (what else do you call a skin-tight, full-length white dress with seemingly infinite elasticity?) and Bechtolt began the show by asking the crowd, "Are you doing okay in your bodies? How about in your spirits?" But then, you can't judge a book by its cover, can you?

Despite an only half-capacity venue, YACHT made full use of the stage and beyond. Evans slinked lightheartedly around the venue, engaging the crowd by pointing to specific audience members as she sang, stepping along the bar tables and finally slipping offstage into the audience, where she shared the lyrics to "The Afterlife" face to face with eager fans.

Besides a few tracks from the band's 2009 full-length See Mystery Lights -- notably, "Summer Song" and excellent set-closer "Psychic City" -- YACHT's 14-song set was composed mostly of songs from their forthcoming LP, Shangri-La. The duo, joined live by a trio of backup musicians, kicked the show off with "Paradise Engineering" and hit their stride during a mid-set, four-song run that included new songs "I Walked Alone," "One Step" and "Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire)," plus a disco-funk version of Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law." "Dystopia," the first single from Shangri-La, was pleasant, but lost some of its recorded zing; it paled in comparison to "One Step," which was undeniably the band's best new track of the night, with its uptempo, classic disco high-hat and strutting bass.

YACHT closed their set's encore with a pair of new songs, including "Tripped & Fell in Love" and Shangri-La's title track, reminding fans what made them so fun in the first place -- their music. And that's how a band ought to judged, no?