Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Deerhunter, Imaad Wasif
Orlando, Fl • Oct. 13, 2006
Small stage or large, the brilliantly weird rock sounds of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs– and the over the top charisma of Karen O- never fail to turn even the coolest hipster into a screaming fan. The band’s illustrious return to Orlando found them playing a packed acoustic in-store peformance at Park Ave. Cds, followed by a nearly sold-out show at the Hard Rock Live. I met a girl dressed as a bee, saw the skinniest man I’ve ever seen in my life, and ended up backstage drinking beers with the band. It was a damn fine Friday the 13th, I’d say!
Opening artist Imaad Wasif doubles as the second guitarist for YYYs, but for his solo set he was a subdued folksinger whose music was gorgeous, but on the dull side to stand there and watch. Though impressive as a guitarist, he seemed better suited as a supporting player in the band rather than as the lone focal point on the large stage. Keeping the attention of 3,000 fans who had come to see the wild anctics of the YYY’s proved to be a difficult task for the folksinger. As a side-note, Wasif was a member of Lou Barlow’s The New Folk Implosion which
means he was also part of the fictional band in the highly underrated film Laurel Canyon.
Atlanta’s Deerhunter is another odd choice for openers for the high energy YYYs. Their psychadelic spin on indie ambience is also better heard than seen. Hypnotic in its soaring experiments with sounds- and colorful as a few of the band members dress (vocalist/guitarist Bradford Cox comes out dressed in a bright green fuzzy robe, while one of the guitarists sports a dress that’s sooo Kurt Cobain)- their immobility quickly becomes tiresome, and they don’t form that much needed connection with the crowd.
Lights down, and finally- give me some Yeah Yeah Yeahs! Dressed in bright and shiny layers of fabric- complete with matching headpiece- Karen O stepped within scream reach of the adoring crowd and flashed her wild eyed, big teethed grin before throwing herself into opening song “Cheated Hearts.” Her layers of fabric began to be pulled off bit by bit until she had pulled off her outer shell to reveal a black and yellow leotard with fishnets. Makeup smeared, spitting water like a fountain up over her- the frontwoman was mesmerizing even without speaking. She is the Patti Smith of today- having even suffered a similar onstage injury in the past, due to her hold-back-nothing approach to performance.
While guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase provide the stable structure to the songs, Karen O crawls acrossed every inch of the stage while never missing a note or lyric. She may not be hitting the stage drunk on wine these days (when I saw the band two years ago she was so trashed she repeatedly tripped over wires, the drumset and several times fell off of the stage into the arms of the happy crowd), but her captivating qualities appear not to have rested inside the bottle.
The band’s set is just over an hour (they’ve only got two albums of material and each album is about 30 minutes long, so, do the math!) long, but includes “Maps,” “Phenomena,” “Rich” and every other song you’d possibly hope to hear. They end with “Date With The Night” then disappearing before the well-earned encore.
“We felt a lot of love from the crowd,” Zinner told me after the show.
To see more photos of this, and other shows, go to www.jencray.com>.