The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Energizes Detroit

Review By Julia Sikora


The curtain that fell from the rafters of The Fillmore read YYY, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs took the stage to the excited screams of their adoring fans. Unfamiliar with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs myself, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical of the hype, but I can tell you now that Karen O has made a believer out of me.

Most lead singers exude an untouchable, larger-than-life quality, but O brings to mind your favorite crazy aunt at a family reunion – exploding with energy and having the time of her life. Literally a fascinating creature – she took the stage in insectile attire and bug-eye glasses – it was clear she was happy to be there and even happier that the crowd had showed up to enjoy the night with her. Kicking off the festivities with “Mosquito,” the first track off the band’s 2013 release of the same name, O crooned, wailed, jumped, and swung her microphone through each and every song. 

The night’s setlist continued on with early YYY material, including “Man,” “Black Tongue” and “Cheated Hearts,” during which O walked across the front of the stage, holding out the microphone and inviting fans to sing the ‘oo oo oos’ of the song’s bridge. And of course, the radio-friendly hits “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” made the cut for the night’s show.

Standout songs included my personal favorite “Gold Lion,” with its, sing-song punk vocals, and “Despair,” a new track that manages to be light and soul-bearing all at once. Halfway through the show, things slowed down a bit as O walked over to bassist and keyboardist David Pajo to sing “Subway” in the back corner of the stage. An out-of-the-ordinary move for most singers, but like everything else about Karen O, it worked.

Coming onstage for their encore, the band dedicated their beloved first single “Maps” to bassist David Pajo’s mother, who had come out to hear him play. O’s voice, pure and strong, moved through the crowd and made you feel as if she was singing just for you. Out of the quiet ballad, O reared up to bring the house – and her microphone – down with “Tick.” Short, sweet, and shrill, it left me wanting more, which is the true allure of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They light up the stage with infectious talent and energy that is missed the moment it is gone. I say Yes Yes Yes to hoping they find their way back to Detroit soon.


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