Thursday, August 2, 2007

Yeah Yeah Yeah

The Yeah Yeah Yeah's played at the Granada in Lawrence last night. They were everything you might hope they would be. The music was tight and energetic. Karen O was predictably nuts, but it is hard to imagine anyone being more endearingly nuts. She sings, screams, dances, poses, and puts on hats with giant tinsel strings. But it never seems forced. She doesn't seem to be doing a shtick. You imagine that is just how she reacts to the music. Guitarist Nic Zinner (young Gary Oldman) and drummer Brian Chase (young Richard Belzer) seem more than happy to just play and watch the show as well.

The set opened with three songs from their new Is Is ep. They never played the other two. The rest of the set consisted of a mix of songs from their two lp's that leaned more heavily toward Fever to Tell and a couple of songs that you'd have to get away from the major releases to find. It was a good mix, and it all sounded really good.

Two local bands opened the show. The first was The Beautiful Bodies, whose lead singer said the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the inspiration for the band. I think a more appropriate statement would have been that Karen O was the inspiration for the lead singer. The band's music would be hard to pin down in any style. At points there were guitars that sounded like Nirvana in the Bleach days, hardcore hillbilly moments that sounded like Jimmie's Chicken Shack, and some pretty straight up bar band rock. The band played all the songs well.

Singer Alicia Solombrino was a dedicated Karen O disciple. She worked the dress code, the banshee vocals, and all the moves. The problem, of course, was that she isn't Karen O. That means that no matter hard she tries to match the performance, it will never be the same because it is an imitation. Here is to hoping she finds her own style because she can really sing (in fact, she's got a stronger voice than O by a long shot). She obscures that voice too often now with all the screaming, but she has the tools to be a really powerful rock singer.

The second band is hard to describe as a band. The more appropriate word would be spectacle. The SSION is a pop performance art group from KC. They have costumed dancers, props, video shows, and a synth and drums music setup. It's almost impossible to explain what it was I saw. Suffice to say it was an experience. The energy was ramped up to maximum through the entire set, which the audience clearly appreciated. All I can say is, if you have adventurous tastes and open-minded friends you should see this at least once.

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