Photo Credit: Jessica Lewis
Deep inside the darkness that is my brain, there is a list. The list consists of bands that, given the opportunity, I will always see live. It’s not a long list, but it’s a good list. One of the bands on this list is Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Ever since I saw Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase electrify the Phoenix about a decade ago (which included them throwing cake into the crowd after serenading a member of tour mates TV on the Radio with Happy Birthday), I decided to catch them every opportunity I had. Luckily, I have been able to catch them a few times since. Despite my initial disappointment with their latest album Mosquito, a Canada Day show at Echo Beach was too hard to resist.
Playing a large outdoor venue, you would think the massive stage would dwarf the four piece band (which included a fourth touring player – David Pajo) but when the band took the stage a bit after 9:30, it was pretty clear the size of the stage doesn’t really matter when Karen O is on stage. One of the most mesmerizing fronts in recent history, Karen O is simply someone you don’t take your eyes off of when she’s on stage – she’s so unpredictable and her enthusiam and energy are something everyone feeds off of. Still, the band had a slow start – the group seemed tentative to really rock out and almost a bit out of sync at times. I was even wondering if Yeah Yeah Yeahs should have played a smaller more intimate show, or maybe they were disappointed with the turnout. Maybe it was just the new material.
As the band moved into the “greatest hits” portion of their set, things started to get more interesting and the show started to gain momentum. Zero, the first truly crossover hit for the band was the first of the show to get everyone dancing. It helped that the delayed introduction worked everyone into a frenzy and they tossed a giant eyeball into the crowd. Maps, their most iconic song, soon followed and had the entire crowd singing and vining to the song. Speaking of Vine, is this going to be a concert thing now? Are people going to vine or instagram video that one slow song at a concert? Is it the ultimate “ha! I am here and you are not!” tool? I think so. Even though this is my third or fourth time hearing it live, it still gives me the chills when the chorus hits and everyone is screaming “they don’t love you like I love you”. Probably one of the greatest lines of lyrics from the past decade.
Heads will Roll ended off the main set, but that song is forever ruined for me because it was on the only Glee episode I watched. I was stuck on a plane flying over the Pacific and it was on the entertainment console, so I was like, well, let’s see what this is all about. Terrible, terrible show. It was some Halloween one where they had to play a football team and everyone quit on the team for some reason so they got some rag tag group to play and of course they won. Has anyone who writes for the show ever seen high school football? Those glee kids (including one in a wheel chair!) would have been crushed and horribly injured. Anyways, Heads Will Roll was in that episode and so it’s ruined for me.
Two encores featuring Cheated Hearts, Tick (in which Karen O does something, as highlighted by this National Post review) and Date With the Night finished off the 80 minute set, with the last one predictably spawning a dancing fit for the people who remained at Echo Beach. It was a furious finish to a slowly triumphant night.