Mere minutes after the traditional opening day fireworks finished lighting up the lakefront sky, punky indie rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs proceeded to light up the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage with a propulsive set that had the entire crowd screaming, well, yeah!
The New York City group â€“ led by charismatic, growly lead singer Karen O â€“ made its debut in 2003 with "Fever To Tell," featuring the hit song "Maps." The song made its way onto several "best of the decade" lists, as well as onto the hit video game "Rock Band."
Since then, the band has continued to thrive, especially Karen O, who made like many pop musicians â€“ Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead, Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers â€“ and joined the world of movies. This included composing the soundtrack to the film adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are" and covering "Immigrant Song" for the creepy opening credit sequence in the American version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."
The shriek-happy Karen O is clearly the main draw, and she doesnâ€™t disappoint. Sheâ€™s a high-energy lightning bolt on stage, getting the claps started early on the showâ€™s opener "Sacrilege" â€“ off of the band's latest album "Mosquito" â€“ and pulling out a prop headlamp for the fourth number, "Under the Earth."
The music and the rest of the band really feeds off of her stage presence. Sheâ€™s an exuberant, eclectic mix of glam rock fashion (she rocked a shiny, flamboyant cape for much of the showâ€™s first act), Mick Jaggerâ€™s posturing struts and a punk rockerâ€™s excitable aggression, especially when it comes to her mic. She swung the yellow-corded mic around like a ragdoll â€“ eventually smashing it in "Date with the Night," the setâ€™s encore â€“regularly pulled it taut like a garrote wire and shoved it down her throat for maximum scream volume.
Her deviously giddy smiles and on-stage charisma matched her rockinâ€™ voice. Sometimes it woundedly soared, like on "Runaway." Other times, like on the moody hit love song "Maps," it haunted. And then there are her signature features: her staccato hehs and her viciously piercing yells, on display in "Cold Light" and "Pin." In the latter, the chorus sounded like a rapid fire of razor blades.
Her sharp voice continually cut through the throbbing, pulse-pounding music (the band rocks harder and rougher live than on their slightly more subdued albums). In fact, the only time it managed to tone her down was when her mic flat-out didnâ€™t work for a few seconds of "Cheated Hearts."
Despite Karen Oâ€™s big personality, the rollicking pace didnâ€™t leave much time for interaction. Karen O and company restlessly bounced from song to song without much stalling, save for some quick shout-outs before "Maps" and a short greeting before "Gold Lion" in which she stated it was Tuesday. She got the important part â€“ the name of the city â€“ right, though.
Trading small talk for a vigorous onslaught of rocking tunes, however, is a good deal any time, especially when the combination of band and star make for such a ferociously entertaining show. The 70-minute set continually built to its apex with the set closer "Heads Will Roll," another one of Yeah Yeah Yeahsâ€™ hits, slightly transformed into a vicious, snarling dance anthem.
Then there was the punkish encore, featuring dramatic pauses, swallowed and smashed mics, and shrieks that likely peeled the paint right off the Harleys tucked away on the back wall. Karen O came out for the song wearing a shiny paper crown, fitting considering she performed like rock royalty on opening night.Â
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published June 24, 2016
As OnMilwaukee's resident insufferable millennial, it is my job to look at the Summerfest lineup every year, scoff at all the bands and then resume snarkily Snapchatting a GIF-storm. However, there's still a lot worthy of your earholes this year.
Published June 21, 2016
Before the champagne had dried on the Cavaliers' celebration Sunday night, people already began looking for which sports fans were the saddest now that that city's losing streak was over. And wouldn't you know it, it's us. But really, Milwaukee is not the next Cleveland.
Published June 20, 2016
Inspired by an unexpected collaborator located several miles south, Postman's Plot - found on Wells Street and 2nd Street - now has an updated look with a plethora of new seating options and a mailbox to send letters to Milwaukee.
Published June 18, 2016
Businessman and star of CNBC's "The Profit" Marcus Lemonis has obviously gone places since his time at Marquette. But today, he's returned to the Cream City -- and he's apparently bringing some cameras with him.
Published June 13, 2016
The alt pop sister duo of Lily & Madeline have found an infectious combination of mesmerizing mellow music and potent, passionate lyrics. They'll bring that hypnotic mix to the Back Room at Colectivo Coffee on Prospect on Wednesday night.
Published June 13, 2016
According to a report from TMZ, rapper Lil Wayne's private jet from Milwaukee to California had to make an emergency landing today in Omaha, Neb., after the rapper suffered a seizure mid-flight.
Published June 13, 2016
Hearts and minds throughout the nation and the globe were with those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones in Orlando. On Monday afternoon, City Hall joined in paying tribute and showing love, hanging a large pride flag from the building.
Published June 11, 2016
Ciclovia MKE will take to the streets for the first time this year on Sunday, June 12, shutting down several blocks for an afternoon of open streets, car-free commuting and community building through arts, activities and staying active.
Published June 8, 2016
Even though Milwaukee brands like Boy Blue or Mrs. Howe's are no longer adorning our streets or our grocery store shelves, you might start seeing them around town a little more often. Or at least their classic logos, thanks to Bygone Brand's T-shirts.
Published May 30, 2016
The Tony-winning musical "Kinky Boots" - coming to the Marcus Center starting Tuesday night - is a bold, bright tale of family, acceptance and fabulousness. For actor J. Harrison Ghee, however, it's a story that goes beyond just the stage.