’80s synth-pop duo Yaz is back on the road


Anyone attending Carmel Morgan’s London play “Smaller” a couple of years ago was in for a surreal surprise. That figure onstage in a lifelike chicken costume, belting out a Robbie Williams melody as a washed-up lounge singer — could that really be legendary soul-pop stylist and Yaz founder Alison Moyet?

Indeed, it was, chortles the singer, who also penned several of the show’s original numbers (three of which are included on her new album “The Turn”).

“And it was a crack — it was funny, camp and stupid, and one of those things where you think ‘Oh, hell, I can’t do that,'” she says. “And that’s exactly what made me wanna do it. But that’s what I’m like — I like dark challenges, so the things that scare me the most are what I like to conquer.”

So alongside her old friend, comedienne Dawn French, Moyet brought down the house in “a voluminous, yellow, furry chicken suit, with a beak, forehead, a wattle and big wings when you held your arms out,” she explains. “And I’m so confident in myself that I can make myself look like an idiot without showing one ounce of embarrassment. That’s how confident I am.”

That same brassiness will be on display Monday, when the diva hits the Paramount Theatre in Oakland with her old keyboardist partner Vince Clarke in the newly resurrected Yaz. The duo — known as Yazoo overseas — dominated dance floors in the early ’80s with two dazzling releases, “Upstairs at Eric’s” and “You and Me Both” (just remastered with a bonus-track disc for the box set “In Your Room”), before disbanding in ’83.

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