Thursday, August 9, 2007

Yeah Yeah Yeahs play NYC's Webster Hall, 8/7/07

There's no doubt about it. Karen O is most definitely a rock star. And her antics — and concert-goers' reactions — at Tuesday night's Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert are certainly proof of this fact.

Now it's true that Karen O's been doing her schtick — which involves bizarre dance routines and contortions, spouting water or beer out of her mouth in a manner reminiscent of a park fountain, and toying with her mic in what some might consider a fairly "inappropriate" manner — for quite some time. Even the bondage-inspired costume she wore at the Webster Hall show was remarkably similar to the one she wore at Lollapalooza. But that doesn't mean her shows have gotten any less thrilling for those (such as yours truly) attending.

If anything, Tuesday night's concert showed that the singer is more than willing to give her all to her audience. At most concerts I've attended, the frontman or frontwoman will only take a couple of brief obligatory seconds to walk out towards the audience and touch a fan's hand. Sometimes, they choose to take a few teasing steps without even trying their hand at actual human contact. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially considering the fact that there are bound to be some overenthusiastic types in concert settings. Nonetheless, this just doesn't seem to be Karen O's style.

In fact, she made it a point to get as close to her fans as possible, numerous times during multiple songs. Teetering dangerously close to the edge of the stage from time to time, she crouched in front of her adoring fans and held out her hands, grinning slowly as they clamored to get close to her.

And yet in the midst of all this rock star adoration and all her crazy antics, the music never suffered. For all Karen O's screaming and dancing, the vocals were spot-on and the singer was even able to switch in and out of her punk rock sensibilities to sing with vulnerable intensity during songs like "Maps" and "Turn Into." And while the other two Yeah Yeah Yeahs may seem a bit subdued next to their bandmate, Nick Zinner's guitar and Brian Chase's drums were also played with an equally intense energy that mimicked and even improved upon some of their studio recordings.

Those of us in the crowd were treated to samplings from each of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' EPs and LPs. And each song was greeted by roaring enthusiasm from the crowd (especially those of us getting jostled around in the pit). Capable of playing compelling music while creating a spectacle, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are pretty brilliant at what they do.

Setlist: Sealings, Untitled New Song, Honeybear, Rockers to Swallow, Phenomena, Cheated Hearts, Gold Lion, Pin, Kiss Kiss, Down Boy, Art Star, Maps, Turn Into, Date With the Night

Encore: Y-Control, Black Tongue, Our Time, Tick

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