If anyone doubted that Lollapalooza's Saturday-night headliners the Yeah Yeah Yeahs could ably stand in the Beastie Boys cancelled spot, the band's electric, inspired -- and downright fun-- performance clearly proved otherwise.
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Karen O, who wore a "Get Well MCA" armband at last weekend's All Points West Festival which also lost the Beasties due to Adam "MCA" Yauch's recent cancer diagnosis, couldn't stop smiling during the Yeah Yeah Yeahs whole Lollapalooza set. Drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner pounded on their instruments like they were having the time of their lives. But the band was more than aware, and gracious, about their last-minute appearance, even busting into the guitar riff from the Beasties 1994 hit "Sabotage" at one point. "Isn't this night special?" O said at one point. "The Yeahs are not gonna forget. We're not even supposed to be here. We never expected to fill the shoes of the Beastie Boys."
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By that time, Karen O and company had already proven that they deserved the headlining slot. From the moment O nonchalantly strolled onto the stage wearing a multicolored headdress and cape and stretched her arms back while belting out "Runaway" from this year's "It's Blitz," the energy for the show was set. If she wasn't swaying back and forth, O was hopping up and down all over the stage showing off several costume changes, including a studded leather jacket that had "KO" on the back.
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With the same giant inflatable eyeball that came out during All Points West aloft, hard drivers "Y Control" and "Zero" had the crowd bouncing up and down along with her. But it was the more subdued songs that left the deepest impressions. "Skeletons" sounded almost like a lullaby, and after a quick flub during the intro to "Soft Shock," O and the band gracefully pulled it together.
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Accompanied by Zinner on an acoustic guitar, O forgot the lyrics into the second verse of "Maps." "Holy shit," she said, then as she struggled to remember, she begged the crowd, who continued to sing without her, to wait. At the end of the song, she clutched her mic and twisted it into her heart like she was stabbing herself in the chest.
For other acts, controlling the energy was a big factor in handling the day's demanding humidity and temperature, which hovered around 90 degrees. Late in the afternoon, Santigold delivered a bright set and drew a headliner-sized audience. Flanked by two dancers in gold jackets, she wasted no time in whipping out "L.E.S. Artistes" and engaging the crowd. For the duration, she worked it brilliantly and even brought several Lolla-goers onstage to dance for her last song "Creator." This was the last show on her current tour, and she mentioned that she was preparing to write songs for her next album.
Fellow Brooklynites TV On The Radio also had no problem keeping a hot, tired audience excited-rock-outs like "Wolf Like Me," were intermixed with some of the most gorgeous song arrangements of the day. Other acts Saturday include fellow headliners Tool, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Rise Against, Animal Collective and the Arctic Monkeys.
The third and final day of the festival, Sunday features headliers Jane's Addiction and The Killers as well as sets by Lou Reed, Mstrkrft, Silversun Pickups and Snoop Dogg.