Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Brixton Academy (1/12/09)

I’ve followed the band for some time but had never seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs live, until last week.

They didn’t disappoint, putting on a great show, playing my favourite song (Y Control) and generally being as cool on stage as they are on record.

So we had giant inflatable eyeballs, costume changes for Karen O, Nick Zinner’s crowd photography at the end of the show and unflappable drummer Brian Chase, holding his sticks with a jazz-like grip but attacking the skins with rock abandon.They played, with some back up from Dave Pajo, an near hour and a half set that included Zero, Heads Will Roll, Cheated Hearts, Gold Lion, Date With The Night, Fancy, and then encores of a lovely acoustic version of Maps and Y Control.

It was a very visual show from the off. The band starting playing Runaway (I think, iPods aren’t conducive to memorising song titles) behind a thin black curtain that dropped to the ground as the song kicked in, revealing the band.

The visual elements reminded me of seeing the Flaming Lips, but without the kookiness or overt theatricality.

So no fake blood or bear costumes for Karen O. Instead she sported a robe-cape-leotard ensemble at first, changing to a more streamlined affair – albeit one with what looked very like a stuffed fabric snake around the waist.

Throughout the night it was very much Karen O’s stage and she worked it well, whether swallowing half the microphone, spitting a cloud of water over her head and into the glare of the stage lights or delivering a perfect, tender version of Maps.

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