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Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Opera House, Bournemouth – 10/12/09

Band: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Support: Duchess Says

Venue: Opera House, Bournemouth
Date: 10th Dec 2009

‘I’m in the queue’, read my text from a friend, ‘and I’m surrounded by super-fans!’. Puzzled as to what a ‘super-fan’ of the international success that is Yeah Yeah Yeahs actually looked like, my imagination pieced together a specific clique of alternative music loving people. I soon realised how wrong I was when arriving at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth. The small, intimate venue had clearly attracted a wide-ranging audience, with a fairly broad age range. ‘They were brilliant at Glastonbury’ gushed one fan, his enthusiasm infectiously lifting my mood, something I didn’t think possible after being so excited on the train. The sea of general conversation amongst the audience, however, was soon replaced with a flood of music, indicating the start of supporting act, Duchess Says.

The long hair and white dress of lead singer Annie-Claude hinted at the style of Florence Welch, unlike the feisty, fast-tempo music. To my surprise, the lead-singer of the Canadian band, flung herself into the sea of hands, where she was passed in a zig-zag route a few metres into the crowd. Fans from all over the crowd whipped out their cameras to capture the spontaneous moment. The singer then quickly returned to the stage, but was not for much longer, as it was soon time for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who I could see nodding their heads appreciatively from the balcony, to perform.

I had not long to absorb the ecstatic atmosphere, as Karen O emerged on to the stage to the brilliantly distinct introduction of Gold Lion. Her outfit was one of her most bizarre and idiosyncratic yet: a white and orange short-sleeved body suit, complete with green and blue tights, which was later teamed with her leather jacket from the Zero video. Clearly far from a stranger to the stage, Karen O oozed confidence and energy, which couldn’t have spread to her eager crowd of fans faster.

The show got underway, the New York-based three-piece continued to repeatedly please the crowd with classic hits. However, her performance of the more recent hit Heads Will Roll stood out as particularly impressive. As soon as Nick Zinner played the opening chords, the crowd’s energy was instantly boosted, which both squashed me against the audience barrier and made me scream with excitement at the same time.

The gig was far from predictable. The dramatic explosion of confetti at the end of Zero sparked a burst of surprise from fans. Another interesting twist to the night was Karen O’s audience interaction: to the well-loved Cheated Hearts, the singer clambered down from the stage right up to the audience barrier, across which she held her microphone for those at the front to ‘Ooh’ into, to the music. Never mind fifteen-minutes of fame, I’m more than happy with my split second in the spotlight- ‘Ooh-ing’ into a microphone being held out to me by the very Karen O herself- I couldn’t believe my luck!

As a change of pace, Maps was a brilliant choice, and was performed beautifully, the raw emotion of Karen O’s voice merging with the collective singing from her fans. Just when I thought that the night couldn’t get any better (or my terrible singing any more put to the test), the gig ended with Date with the Night, a suitably lively hit with which to round things up. For me, the performance could not have been any better, and I had various songs stuck in my head for days afterwards. One great show!

Reviewer: Nicola Stewart

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