Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Services/Sean Na Na, Carling Academy, Birmingham, Sunday May 21 2006.
Dinosaur Jr./Dead Meadow, Carling Academy 2, Monday May 22 2006.

Having been to Cardiff (or to be more accurate, a certain Splott on the nearby landscape) for the weekend, enjoying the generous hospitality of Ben and Jenni in the company of, amongst others, Alison (who supplies driving and wordgames) and the Prykemeister (who supplies a business card proudly proclaiming 'interested in everything'), by the time your correspondent gets to the gig he's feeling flat-out tired, bleary-eyed and barely capable of drinking one more beer, let alone several. And yet it's at the bar Dead Kenny is, when Har Mar Superstar's don't-call-it-a-side-project Sean Na Na finish off their set, which from what we hear sounds poppy and, indeed, popular. Don't get to see whether HMS has switched from briefs to boxers, though.

Up next are Services, two New York electropop boffins putting their hands in the air like they just don't care for the 90s rave revival. It's an energetic set which, given Dead Kenny's jaded demeanour, does well not to irritate and even manages to pulse some life into his lethargic limbs. On the downside, by the end of the show, the singer's limited range becomes more and more apparent. So consider this a tip for Services rendered: maybe a female co-singer would help?

Shame for them that Karen O seems to have her hands full performing lead vocal duties for headliners Yeah Yeah Yeahs who open their set with 'Turn Into' their new single from warmly received second album 'Show Your Bones', material from which dominates the first half of the show. And yet it's the staccato strut of 'Pin' (the tune that provides Dead Kenny's ringtone, wannabe stalker factfans) from their debut which really gets the crowd going, the resulting mosh engulfing yours truly and separating him from Alison for the rest of the show.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs seem to attract a much higher proportion of female fans than normal for girl-fronted groups, so the move on 'Show Your Bones' towards mellower and more melodic material looks an astute calculation. Chief among these songs is 'Cheated Hearts' which seems to provide the emotional heart to the set, even above normal standout 'Maps' (predictably saved for the encores, and perhaps now just a bit too familiar to retain its original impact). 'SYB' may be slightly less immediate than its predecessor but over time it's proving a worthy follow-up, and in terms of style, attitude and sheer song-for-song strike-rate you'd be hard pushed right now to find a better rock band operating in the mainstream than Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Following night, family illness and an impromptu hospital visit means your correspondent misses first support band The Like (don't cry for us, Argentina, though, as we saw them as recently as March). Do catch most of Dead Meadow's set, however, who create a pleasing enough guitar din without sufficiently exciting to put them a cut above the norm. Dinosaur Jr are a different proposition, however, the cult band from the late 80s/early 90s bringing the tunes (eg. the mighty 'The Wagon') to ease their elevation from musos to messiahs. J Mascis' long mane is now completely gray and he's something of a Grumpy Gus (barely speaking beyond grumbling about the light levels) but, perversely these factors served to help cheer your correspondent up through a rambling, but frequently inspired show.


Post a Comment

<< Home