Enchanting the audience with looks and loops: Merrill Garbus

Tuesday night’s sirens echoing through the Mission were coming out of The Chapel, currently one of the Mission’s hottest venues for live music. The sirens were all part of a song (“Gangsta”) and a dazzling performance by the Oakland-based band Tune-Yards.

Sponsored by Converse, the band crossed the Bay to present new songs from its upcoming album “Nikki Nack,” the follow-up of the 2011 “Whokill.” And they were not the only creative East Bay force invading the Mission Tuesday night. Both pre-bands —The Tambo Rays from Oakland, as well as Berkeley-based producer and electronic songwriter Yalls — demonstrated why so many think of Oakland as “the new Mission.”

The sibling-led combo Tambo Rays delivered solid indie-chill pop. Dan Casey — better known under his artist name “Yalls” — filled The Chapel’s holy hall with hypnotizing beats, dreamy lyrics and enticing hooks.

Despite great performances by Tambo Rays and Yalls, it was pretty obvious who the 250-300 fans — including a fair number of children — came to see.

The venue filled up relatively late, and the best both pre-bands got out of the crowd was a sympathetic nod here and there. This changed halfway through Tune-Yard’s set.

When Tune-Yards entered, it was clear that a lot has changed since San Francisco last saw them: The saxophone players supporting the core-band members Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner have been replaced by two (very talented) vocalists, and the otherwise so Tune-Yards-typical looping pedal was very sparsely called into action — mostly for old songs of which there were few.

Except for “Powa,” “Bizness” and “Gangsta,” the set exclusively consisted of new tracks. It was everything but a loss: Merrill Garbus’ alluring voice has not changed a bit, and with the rhythmic section as dominant as ever, the new Tune-Yards sounded fresh, dynamic and, above all, happy to be back on the stage.

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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