Like a wild animal ... Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Photo: Edwina Pickles
YEAH YEAH YEAHS
Metro Theatre, January 22
Ten years ago, the latest hot new band from New York – a curious-looking trio calling itself Yeah Yeah Yeahs — made its first appearance on the Metro's stage.
Unfortunately, that show was memorable mainly because, a mere handful of songs in, force-of-nature singer Karen O fell off the stage face first, resulting in its abrupt cancellation.
Mercifully, there's no such disappointment this time around, for O or anyone else. She still screeches and throws herself around like a wild animal to older tunes such as the rockabilly punk of Miles Away and an electrifying Date with the Night, reverting to glam-rave space queen (she appears to be wearing Princess Leia's Saturday-night gear) for the euphoric disco-rock anthems of their most recent album, 2009's It's Blitz!
The Metro, it turns out, is the perfect place to see them, too. Long capable of selling out much bigger venues (but, like the Killers and Vampire Weekend, playing their Sydney Big Day Out side shows in this one so as not to take business from the main event), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrive in a club environment in a way that doesn't translate as well outdoors or in arenas.
Sure, O's charisma could probably fill the outback, but the band's sound – built on Brian Chase's inventive beats and hissing cymbals and detonated by Nick Zinner's ringing and howling electric guitar lines – feels especially riveting in these confines.
Thanks also to the judicious use of a fourth member, who adds everything from a buzzing synth (Zero) and pretty acoustic guitar (Turn Into) to the Psycho Killer bass line (on new tune Mosquito), it's one of those rare nights on which just about everything falls into place.
The new songs, on this evidence a return to guitars after the keyboard overload of It's Blitz!, sound fantastic.
The downbeat likes of the tender Skeletons offer gorgeous respite, rather than bore you into making a bar run. After the infuriatingly minimalist rendition of Maps heard at the Big Day Out, we get the full, epic, perfect version.
Best of all, no one ends up in hospital.