Two Out of Three Ain’t Good?

Ouch! I was just reading an interview with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from The Guardian, and the writer Lynsey Hansley contextualized the YYY’s place in modern rock by commenting on two of my other favorite American rock bands:

In the three years since Fever to Tell‘s release, their New York counterparts the Strokes have released two underwhelming albums, while the White Stripes, the band whom the Yeah Yeah Yeahs supported at their first-ever gig in 2001, have become one of the world’s biggest rock bands. While staying true to their cool, uncompromising attitude, YYYs’ Show Your Bones easily outscores the Strokes’ efforts in its combination of artistic ambition and poppy accessibility.

I didn’t realize this was a contest. Thoughts?

Something Like a Phenomena Baby

Hooray! Tonight’s show so much better. People were clapping and cheering. It was all great, except for that one guy who kept screaming “MACHINE!” That was awesome when Karen said, “This next song is called ‘Machine’,” and then I’m sure the guy got all excited and then she said, “No, I’m just kidding. We’re not playing that song.” Hahah.

They also played “Dudley” and “Y Control” which they hadn’t played the two previous nights.

And in the “celebrity” department was Conrad Keely (aka–“the dude with the big head from …Trail of Dead”), Terry Richardson, and James Iha. I liked it when Conrad’s friend started saying, “Ohmygod! It’s Terry Richardson!” and then Conrad goes, “Who’s that?” Best.

Check out some great photos over at Who’s Driving the Bus?

Also, I just found these videos and pictures taken by The Triumph of Tired Eyes at the Maxwell’s show. Check out how enthusiastic the audience was.

Two Parts of a Three Night Stand

Now that I’ve gotten some sleep, I can stay awake at my computer long enough to tell you the details of the two Yeah Yeah Yeahs shows I’ve been to this week.

The first show, as you already know, was in New Jersey at the tiny little 200-person venue Maxwell’s. When the tickets for all 3 shows went on sale I knew straight away that this show was going to be 10x more fun than the Bowery shows.

Out of the handful of times I’ve been here, I’ve seen some of my favorite performers (Beck, Sondre Lerche, and Duncan Sheik) and always had such a great time because of the warm and welcoming crowd. What is it about crossing the river that makes audiences so much more accepting and receptive to music?

I have to say, I was pleased by the fact that it was a weeknight, and it was in Hoboken because that meant that the people there had to put some effort into getting to the show–well at least the many of us who came from Manhattan without cars.

As I mentioned the other day, J. and I got to the venue early so we could eat dinner at the club. When the hostess said we’d have to wait 10 minutes for a table, she escorted us to a small clubhouse area toward the back of the dining hall where people can sit and drink while waiting for their table. I never even knew it existed! Anyway, while I was in there I heard Blood on the Wall having a toast to having “a great show” and saw the YYYs and friends getting their chow on at their table.

Blood on the Wall was up to bat first. It seems as though 90-grunge style is back because all three band members were wearing ratty tshirts and jeans. Their set was ok, I wasn’t really feeling it, but J. liked them. I wasn’t really getting what sets their music apart from other bands that do the whole atmospheric rock thing. (I’m sure some angry people will write in and tell me.) I was not sold on the “french-door” of sound meets off-key singing, but the crowd up front kinda loved them, screaming out the band’s name at various points during the set. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

After BOTW vacated the performance area, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ stage crew started setting up their gear and also laid down some setlists and a chord change cheat-sheet for Nick. Everyone scrambled to see what was going to be played but I resisted, stating “I don’t want to know what’s going to happen!” I heard some people making comments that they weren’t going to be playing many old songs and I said, “well they are here to play stuff of the NEW album!” Seriously guys, if you want to hear the old stuff, go listen to your record at home.

It wasn’t before long that the rock ‘n’ roll trio pushed their way through the crowd and piled onto the stage amidst enthusiastic cheering and whooping. Karen opened the show by saying that 90 percent of what they were going to play was going to be new stuff. Hooray!

They started off with the slow-building but very beautiful “Turn Into,” which is kinda like the older, more up-tempo sister of “Maps.” Up next was the first single off Show Your Bones, the sexy and mysterious “Gold Lion” which features some pretty folky guitar strumming, but the addition of weird electronic noodling noises it sounds modern and larger than life.

yeah yeah yeahs maxwells

yeah yeah yeahs maxwells

More photos and commentary on the shows after the jump.

Continue reading “Two Parts of a Three Night Stand”

Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah?

Hi everyone. I’m going to come out and say it. You should officially not be allowed to come to tomorrow night’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs show at the Bowery Ballroom if you are not willing to do one of the following: clap, yell, “wooh!”, dance, stomp your feet, smile, jump up and down, throw your hands up in the air, or nod your head.

If last night’s show was hot and heavy like a sauna, tonight’s was as f-cking frigid as a meat locker. Was everyone really tired from working all week or something? I swear I could have heard crickets chirping through some of the crowd lulls during the performance. Seriously, WHERE WAS THE LOVE?

Every other time I’ve seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Bowery Ballroom (2 or 3 times) it has been nothing short of a semi-contained riot. Most of the times it’s been a violent, lively affair, with people throwing themselves into the air, arms and elbows flailing, beer being sprayed all over the place. I didn’t even break a SWEAT at this show no matter how hard I tried. WHAT THE HELL GUYS?

I’m mad at everyone who didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves. Why was I dancing by myself? I BEST see you freaking out at tomorrow’s show otherwise we are SO OVER. I know there are a lot of fun people coming to the show tomorrow, prove that NYC folks are NOT above having a good time. I know you can do it.

God, don’t even talk to me, I’m so upset. I’m going to watch “Project Catwalk” now. (Thanks K.F.)

Cheated Hearts/ Way Out/ Black Tongue/ Honey Bear/ Mysteries/ Down Boy/ Gold Lion/ Happy Birthday (to Karen’s Mom)/ Phenomena/ Miles Away/ Warrior/ Turn Into/ Maps/ Our Time/ Modern Romance

Here is the one photo I took (I’m not kidding, I only took one) due to the camera rules at the show tonight. I would suggest bringing your little “non-professional”-looking camera if you plan on seeing the show tomorrow, otherwise you too will be one of the people who was ejected from the venue. (I counted 4 photographers and 1 smoker.) They won’t let anyone with one of them big “fancy” cameras take shots (even without flash) at the show but allow any kid with a PowerShot snap away like a ‘razzi. Go figure.

yeah yeah yeahs bowery ballroom 06

Tell Me What You Saw, Tell Me What You Saw

One of the best things about going to a show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ is that you can order food in the dining area of the venue. Which basically makes Maxwell’s the rock club where you can have the quickest dash from your dinner to your concert. It takes about 1 minute to cross the dining room, go past the bathrooms, and head into the performance area.

The other kinda mildly amusing thing is that usually a couple of hours before the main act is supposed to go on you almost always spot them pigging out in the dining area. It reminds you that musicians are people too–they have to eat delicious artery-clogging cheeseburgers just like the rest of us.

Anyway…Yeah Yeah Yeahs played tonight at Maxwell’s. It was SO freaking awesome and probably one of the most sweatiest concerts I’ve ever been to. Seriously, after it was over everyone looked like they’d just gone on the Niagra Falls tour–damp and sticky.

According to lead singer Karen O, they played 90 percent new material. People sang along to songs like the single, “Gold Lion,” and some old favorites like “Art Star”…but more surprising was that some people were even singing along to songs of the yet-to-be-released album. Hmmm.

“Phenomena” is absolutely one of my favorite songs off the new album. It’s a dark and sexy tune that you cannot help but rock out to. God, how can one band be so good?!

Karen was decked out in a red and purple frock that looked to me like a variation on the Christian Joy “Bean Dress”, a “Kamp Krusty” Simpsons t-shirt, some black sheer jester-style tights, and all-black Converse high tops.


Turn Into/ Gold Lion/ Honey Bear/ Mysteries/ Art Star/ Phenomena/ Rockers/ Sweets/ Cheated Hearts/ Maps (acoustic)/ Miles Away/ Modern Romance/ Tick

I’m so tired, so pictures for now. More later. In the meantime, read about the show at Music Snobbery and watch some videos at Double Halo.
yeah yeah yeahs maxwell's

yeah yeah yeahs maxwell's

yeah yeah yeahs maxwell's

yeah yeah yeahs maxwell's

yeah yeah yeahs maxwell's

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Gold Lion” Video

The video for “Gold Lion” is now available on the official YYYs Web site as well as streaming from AOL Music.

It features Brian, Karen, and Nick playing and singing in a dusty and dirty desert wasteland where the only source of light comes from a fire being fueled by drumsticks and broken guitars. It’s creepy, ominous, and larger than life–a perfect match for this tremendous-sounding song. Also feature Karen wearing a gold lame dress. Hot!

gold lion yeah yeahyeahs

(Source: Thanks to Henry for the link to AOL!)