As an avid live music fan, the concert experience is one that is unparallel in my opinion. I love live music. I love seeing my favorite bands or any type of music for that matter being performed live. It is a visceral experience that is intense, captivating, and personal all at the same time. I am lucky to live 5 mintues from New York City, which is one of the best cities in the world for live music. Everybody plays here. Everyone who is anyone has to play here. Cause like good ol Franky Blue Eyes said, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. When it comes to live music, being able to do your thing in the Big Apple says something . It gives you gusto. It means that you have made it. And since I go to a lot of shows in the area, I plan on breaking down these shows in a segment that I call Live and Plugged In. And the first concert I am going to review for this are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who played last night, Thursday, September 19th, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Bands get up for their homecoming shows. They must get super hyped. It’s just like any athlete who gets to play in front of their friends and family, or being able to showcase whatever your talents are in front of the people that you love…You want to leave a lasting impression. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are from New York City, and they have played here numerous times, but being residents of Brooklyn, their first live show at the new Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue is a night that they won’t be forgetting for a long time. When I first heard about this show, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going but I was skeptical about the venue. Barclays Center is a massive space for a small band. Now I know the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play loud and don’t sound like your traditional three piece, but not having a full band in a place as big as Barclays can be a little bit overwhelming, yet somehow someway, the YYYs found a way to pull it off.
Places like the Barclays Center are so big that you fully expect only established acts to play venues of this size. The YYYs have been around since 2000 and have released four major albums and an EP. Their biggest song to date has been “Maps” off their 2003 album Fever To Tell. I personally thought that this venue was too big for the YYYs. I felt that Radio City or Roseland, maybe even Terminal 5 was a better fit, because those venues are more intimate and give the fan more of an up close and personal vibe with the band. I was shocked to see that this show was not a sell out because the band is from these parts. I felt the same way about The National when I saw them at Barclays earlier in the year. (They are an indie band who is well known, but not huge, also from Brooklyn, yet they sold out this venue on their first show here) Yet non of that mattered when Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase jumped on the Barclays stage with the Broadway Inspirationals Voices Choir to rip through “Sacrilege,” one of the singles off their most recent album Mosquito and start this night off on the right no. From the minute this threesome stepped on stage they weren’t going to be bothered by the size or location of the venue. They were just going to rock our faces off. And rock is what they did. The Broadway Inspirationals Voices Choir stayed on to play with the band for “Under the Earth” also off Mosquito, giving both of those songs a fuller and more sound. The band played a couple of other tunes off of their new album then tightly ripped into the classics, which everyone in Brooklyn was dying and ready to hear. Drummer Brian Chance was on point all night providing the pulsating beat they is predominant in so many YYYs songs. “Down Boy” thumped. “Zero” had people dancing like they were losing their minds at Limelight in the late 90’s. The mixed age crowd were definitely veterans of old school Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I was a little surprised to see how many older folks were at this show but then I remembered that I’m in New York and people are just very cool here and culturally aware. The YYYs are a cultural piece of NYC rock history at this point. They have paved their way from once playing small indie clubs such as Mercury Lounge and the Bowery Ballroom to graduating to massive venues such as the Barclays Center. It’s a pretty impressive feat for a band that hasn’t had more than 3 Top Ten hits. The new generation of YYYs fans are more into the tracks off 2008’s synth-dance album, It’s Blitz, so when songs like “Zero,” “Soft Shock,” and “Heads Will Roll” came on, people went bananas. The band also dipped into songs from their 2005 album Show Your Bones such as “Gold Lion” which was accompanied by some strong acoustic guitar strumming from Nick Ziner, and “Cheated Hearts” that had the crowd clapping into a frenzy.
After the first five songs, my friend and I made our way down to the floor to get the full Karen O experience. Karen O is one of the most electric performers in music today. She is a chameleon on stage, changing through various loud and colorful outfits throughout the show, dancing up, down, and all around the stage with fury, passion, and sex appeal. You can’t keep your eyes off of her whether she is giving her signature growl, singing earnestly, or getting the crowd to jump around and dance. She is musical intensity at its finest and a blast to watch. I know this show was personal for the Yeahs. Anytime you get to go home and play a place like Barclays, you have to feel honored, humbled, and proud. Even though it wasnt a sell out, the YYYs made sure they were going to give everyone in Brooklyn a great musical experience. For the encore they dedicated their biggest hit, “Maps” to their family, friends, and all of us in attendance. It is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs love song, and we all felt loved as everyone in the crowd sang in unison with Karen. For the closer, the YYYs gave a blistering performance of “Date With the Night” complete w flashing lights and confetti blazing out of the stage on each sides. It was the perfect song to end a great night in Brooklyn. We all had a date with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on this night, and hopefully we can continue to date for many years to come.
Under the Earth
Heads Will Roll
Down With the Night