Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Final SXSW Live Shots
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., March 22, 2013
Yeah Yeah YeahsStubb's, March 13
New York trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs wrote fourth LP Mosquito in New Orleans, stewing in Big Easy gris-gris. Karen O thus took the stage on Wednesday night in what appeared to be her version of a second-line costume – an overcoat of sequins and streamers – for a first glimpse of the new album. To be clear, there's no disputing Yeah Yeah Yeahs' headliner status: Karen O demands the spotlight, stalking the stage with riot grrrl tenacity and rare theatricality, while marionette guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase offer a lightning rod of intensity. Bolstered by multi-instrumentalist David Pajo of Slint, the quartet mowed through hits ("Maps," "Gold Lion"), and ecstatic closer "Heads Will Roll" went off the way you'd expect at a packed Stubb's. The new material, however, lacked clear vision. Darker, moodier, with industrial grind, it continues the chromatic dance-floor makeover of 2009's It's Blitz! "Under the Earth" proved more mood than movement, while the gospel swell of "Sacrilege" evoked Lady Gaga rather than Madonna. It's as if Karen O threw everything against the wall, saw what stuck, and fashioned an outfit out of everything else.