Yeah Yeah Yeahs / May 27, 2009 / Pontiac, Mich. (Clutch Cargo’s)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs kicked off its sold-out show with “Dull Life,” a dizzying track from this year’s “It’s Blitz!” (Interscope), and it wasn’t long after Karen O shouted, “I’m hot / More alive than you’ve ever been!” that her signature bob became a hot, wet mess. Shortly after, “Phenomena” got the crowd got riled up with guitarist Nick Zinner’s crunchy riffs and a sing-along chant of the lines, “Somethin’ like a phenomena, baby / Gonna get your body off.” The floor shook to the beat of fan favorites like “Honeybear” and “Date with the Night,” and brief mosh pits ensued as Karen O jerked and jumped around the stage between her playfully abrasive screeches and howls.
Equal time was given to all three of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ LPs as the band seamlessly interspersed longtime favorites like “Pin” and “Miles Away” with tracks from this year’s “It’s Blitz!” Like the new LP, the live set was heavy on the synths, courtesy of Nick Zinner’s guitars and actual synths played by touring keyboardist David Pajo. (Although Zinner took up the keys on the record, he left them alone on stage.)
Not a spoken word left Karen O’s mouth until she called out, “Detroit! Pontiac!” a few songs in, and it stayed that way until the encore. After re-entering with a towel draped over her shoulders, she prefaced the Yeahs’ breakout hit “Maps” with, “This is a Yeah Yeah Yeahs love song! This song’s about love. You know you want it.” Later, Zinner hopped across the stage to snap photos of the crowd, and drummer Brian Chase journeyed out from behind his set to dance and wave before exiting the stage.
With the exception of a couple of confetti blasts (first tissue, then red, metallic Y’s), the near-hour long set didn’t leave much room for surprises: “Maps” during the encore? Check. “Zero” and the dance floor-ready “Heads Will Roll” from “It’s Blitz!”? Check. Karen O deep-throating her microphone? Double check.
Even though the song choices were somewhat predictable and there wasn’t much crowd banter, the fans didn’t leave unappreciated. In “Poor Song,” the hidden track on 2003’s “Fever To Tell” that served as night’s final number, Karen O and the crowd sang the last lines in unison: “Well, I may be just a fool / But I know you’re just as cool / And cool kids / They belong together.”
Here is Yeah Yeah Yeahs setlist:
"Rockers to Swallow"
"Heads Will Roll"
"Date With the Night"