Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Marquee Theatre, Tempe
August 21, 2013 (View the full slideshow in a new window.)
It was a flurry of colored strobes, shimmers, and sparkles as Karen O. and her boys Nick Zinner and Brian Chase -- best known as the New York-based Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- took over the sold-out Marquee Theater in Tempe to deliver a solid set of their arty, dance-y punk to a mass of seriously excited fans.
Joined by touring guitarist David Pajo, the group dove right into an energetic set with O at the helm, catlike and strutting. Girlfriend, who is known for her eclectic outfits, was looking pretty fierce in a multilayered, bedazzled, black-and-white ensemble.
The second song in was "Man," from the band's 2003 debut, Fever to Tell. Wickedly spirited and waving her hand in a preacher's tent-revival style, Karen got the crowd riled up for the rock with the classic vocal shrieks that helped them stand out from a mass of New York bands just a little more than a decade ago.
It was the next song, "Phenomena," from Show Your Bones, that really highlighted Chase's tight and powerful drumming. Always a force, he has seemed to add a little more flash and pizzazz to his delivery, making him an easy focal point.
It felt like a full-on dance party when they broke into "Heads Will Roll." Apparently, plenty of folks wanted to take the "Off with their heads, dance 'til you're dead" lyrics seriously, 'cause I was immersed in some flailing arms and dance moves that tested the limits of the tight, confined crowd -- all in good fun.
Karen O. seemed to be full of smiles and love for the crowd via some affectionate thanks and some invitations to the crowd to sing along.
Zinner, as always, is the master of his domain. He is a unique combination of noisy and obvious mixed with a subtlety that makes you realize just how aware you are of his riffs and thoughtful sounds, even when you think your focus might be elsewhere.
This was really evident on "Runaway" from It's Blitz! Minimal and stripped down, the song's entire foundation would crumble without his chills-inducing guitar.
The band kept it lively, going from that haunting number into "Gold Lion," which Karen started off by drawing the audience into a hands-over-head group clap and chant of Queen's "We Will Rock You."
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The band wrapped up with "Cheated Hearts," another good one from Show Your Bones, before exiting a room full of people who were definitely wanting more action.
The encore was a trio of hits, "Zero," "Maps," and "Date with the Night." The latter a nice way to exit vigorously after the luscious "Maps," which was an obviously popular choice, as pretty much every fan in the house decided to sing along at full volume.
During "Date," the band stopped the show with a collective frozen pose that went on for what seemed like several minutes, building up a bit of good tension and excitement before barreling back into the rocker. Though the band didn't do a lot of new songs, it didn't feel like a Yeah Yeah Yeahs night of hits; just a selection of good choices for a damn good time.
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For more photos, click through to Page 3.