Live Review Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London 8th June 2022

One moment they’re capable of building ominous storms of sound, the next they’re smashing them to smithereens.

As the lights go down on Brixton Academy tonight, there’s a certainty that something very special is afoot. As Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ frontwoman Karen O emerges from the darkness, dripping in iridescent rainbow colours - and wearing one of the most unusually iconic hats we’ve ever seen - that’s only confirmed further.

To think that it’s been four years since the iconic New York outfit last played our shores (as support to neighbours LCD Soundsystem at 2018’s All Points East) is perhaps less shocking than the idea their last UK headline show was almost nine years ago. Yet, even after such a long period away from the country, the trio are still completely potent on stage. Breaking the ice with their newest release - the moody slow-build of their Perfume Genius-featuring ‘Spitting Off the Edge of the World’ - the band quickly remind us of their knack for balancing things on a knife edge; one moment they’re capable of building ominous storms of sound, the next they’re smashing them to smithereens.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London

Throughout their hour-long set, the three-piece are a force to be reckoned with, Karen shedding layers of her effervescent costume while deep-throating her mic and spit-spraying water across the stage. Nick Zinner and Brian Chase are controlled but ferocious, a juxtaposition best showcased in the renditions of frenetic debut album tracks like ‘Pin’ and ‘Tick’. Almost twenty years on from their release, there’s still an electric current that flows through their core.

But it’s not all pure frenzy; the electro-stomp of ‘Heads Will Roll’ and the soaring ‘Zero’ - the latter complete with those giant inflatable eye balls that are tossed out across the audience - blend seamlessly into the iconic likes of ‘Maps’ and ‘Gold Lion’, showing off the band’s talent for deftly bouncing around styles with skill and ease. They do it in a way that only Yeah Yeah Yeahs could. So as the frenetic squalling of ‘Date With The Night’ roars into life, it’s not to feel entirely exhilarated by their return; here’s hoping we won’t have to wait so long for them next time.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Brixton Academy, London


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