Friday, October 12, 2012

REMEMBER WHEN: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

 

YEAH YEAH YEAHS

June 10, 2004 @ SOMA (San Diego)


SOMA is such a strange venue. Originally located at an old warehouse in downtown San Diego, just south of Market Street (hence, its moniker), the venue eventually settled into its current home in a former movie theater in 2002. Shows take place in the old screening areas. Projection rooms are now band dressing areas. The snack bar also acts as a merch counter. Since the audience stands where theater seats once stood, your legs can get a bit tired from being in a slanted position all night, but at least you can see pretty well even if you're in the very back. The only bad thing is that there are no windows, so it gets real stuffy during packed shows.

Even after moving to Los Angeles from Orange County, I would still make the trek down to SOMA for particularly good lineups, and even though this was a radio show (91X's X-Fest), nothing could keep me away from a chance to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the very first time in such an intimate setting. Besides, I knew a band that had won an opening slot on the bill and had just seen the Killers and stellastarr* perform great sets at Coachella, so it would be a trip well worth it.

And, I should mention that I absolutely love Karen Lee Orzolek. "Y Control" is one of my all-time favorite songs. The YYYs performed most of the other songs from their 2003 debut full-length, Fever to Tell, that night as well. Guitarist Nick Zinner looked so cool during the intro to "Pin," and Brian Chase had the crowd jumping up and down in time to his drumbeats in "Tick." The entire audience sang along to their massive hit "Maps." With the lack of ventilation in the SOMA main-stage area and the inability of my friends and I to stop dancing from the moment the YYYs began, I was totally drenched in sweat before their third song ended. But we all kept moving.

Simultaneously, I was mesmerized as Karen O strutted around the stage with her continual attempts at swallowing the microphone head and wrapping its long black cord around her arms and legs. It was like someone had set a firecracker off on stage, yet her flame never sputtered out. As she pranced and tumbled in her seemingly homemade, craft-project costume, she was quirky yet completely relatable in her simultaneously vulnerable and warrior-woman moments during songs. This is why I so admire her. She isn't afraid of shedding all pretenses and performing with utter abandon. She is definitely one of my favorite frontwomen in all of rock 'n' roll today. And if she ever performs Stop the Virgens in Los Angeles, it will be the first (and probably only) time I would ever go to an opera.



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