Leeds Festival 2009
Following Vampire Weekend’s near perfect set at The Main Stage, the sun still shone for fellow New Yorkers Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. Not that the extravagant blue spiralling stage display was a clue alone matched by lead singer Karen O and her spectacular green and blue tassled top. Even if they did then open with the slow burning ‘Shame and Fortune‘. Such tedium did not last long with Nick Zinner creating other worldly noises from his sixstring yet the centre of attention was O with her sullen then playful vocals during ‘Black Tongue‘. She then turned pocket dynamo during an irresistible rendition of ‘Heads Will Roll‘.
Unlike Vampire Weekend, this New York outfit struggled with their tight sound lost to the wind, particularly for ‘Rich‘. A ‘We Will Rock You’ opening made renowned by an only too willing crowd was then deflated by the acoustic guitar refrains that drew in ‘Gold Lion’ amidst O’s selfish yelps until the outro bled into ‘Cheated Hearts‘. Thankfully the band realised that they need not be afraid to turn the dial down to impress and the simpler moments arrived when O’s wispy vocals shone, particularly during a drawn out version of ‘Skeletons‘. While she remained the star of the show, the midsection then dragged rather than enthralled with ‘Hysteric’ sounding anything but. An issue only resolved when she threw herself headfirst into ‘Honey Bear’ and the incessant buzz of ‘Zero‘.
Barely a word was ushered to the assembled crowd until O dedicated the sweet, acoustic serenades of ‘Maps’ to “all you lovers at Leeds”. Indeed the heartfelt track seemed ideal for the couples huddled together as the sun set for one of those festival moments you take home along with various bouts of food poisoning. That would have been an ideal moment to sign off yet the band found time for ‘Date With The Night‘, and even a short statuesque pause with the moment milked for all its worth before Zinner’s final screeching riff. For such a perplexing set in ideal conditions, the disappoint rested at an opportunity lost to entertain like you know Yeah Yeah Yeahs can.