Saturday, September 8th, 2007
Something Like A Phenomenon
Well just wow.
It’s kind of ironic that I’d leave a concert/party sponsored by cosmetics and fragrances looking like I’d been through a hurricane and smelling like I’d been bathing in the sweat of a thousand sweaty people but so it was last night after seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs absolutely demolish the Berkeley Church. An rsvp-only sort of private but not really after party, presumably to coincide with the Toronto International Film Fest, the so-called Festival Ball was not what I expected. The interior of the converted church bore almost no advertising (save for a couple logos projected on the back wall) and there wasn’t any of the hard-sell marketing I’d have thought unavoidable. Instead, there was just a room of showgoers (and I didn’t spot a single celeb though I heard Jessica Alba was in the house) and a two hour plus wait for things to get underway. Happily, free drinks help the time go by.
The band finally took the stage around 11:20 and the place just went apeshit. Every celebrity in town for TIFF could have been in attendance and no one would have noticed – all eyes were on Karen O. Far and away the most insanely riveting and charismatic frontwoman I’ve ever seen, she was feral and ferocious, a dervish in spandex and tinsel, seemingly oblivious to the crowd and lost in the music one moment and then feeding off the audience’s love like her life depended on it the next. I’m sure their live show has been deconstructed by a million and one critics before, but I’m a relatively recent convert and this was my first time seeing them so allow me to gush. Being a “corporate” gig, I had expected in the back of my mind that they might phone it in a bit but no – everyone on the floor was a fan through and through (or would be by the end of the set) and the band seemed to thrive in the club-like atmosphere.
They tore through 14-song set that covered both albums and EPs and though I have no idea where they got the energy – I was completely spent from fighting to maintain front row position from all the moshers and crowd surfers – they still came out for a four-song encore that didn’t let the intensity up a bit. I left soaked to the bone with sweat, tears, spit, water, beer and gin and utterly exhausted and exhilarated, with a bag of cosmetics and a copy of Vice (the marketers were camped outside) and quite possibly utterly ruined for V Fest this weekend. I sorta kid – I’m still really looking forward to the next couple days – but that Yeah Yeah Yeahs show was simply not one could or should be followed.
Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Berkeley Church – September 7, 2007
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Bang”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps” (YouTube)
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion” (YouTube)
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts” (YouTube)
MySpace: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
And some last-minute V Fest dispatches – JAM! talks to Editors, who close the Future Shop stage tomorrow night. Spinner’s Interface features Voxtrot, appearing on same stage today, and Billboard reports that tonight’s headliner Bjork is hoping to release a live studio session album featuring her current band before the year’s end. The Montreal Gazette talks to Stars, who’re playing tomorrow and who are doing a free show at MTV.ca on Tuesday – ticket info here. And that mystery 5PM slot for today has been filled. Who had Kid Koala in the pool? No one? Yeah. React as you see fit.
For Southern Ontario/western New York fans of The National, take note that they’ve added a show in Buffalo at the Traf on October 9, the day after their show at the Phoenix in Toronto. The News-Observer talks to bassist Aaron Dessner and The Tallahassee Democrat interviews singer Matt Berninger.