Weak Bones

Show Nathan your bones at [email protected]

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By 11 a.m. on March 12, the

Yeah Yeah Yeahs sold out two

shows at San Francisco’s

Warfield Theater, one hour after

tickets were released to the public.

Three songs into the set on April

28, the awesome triple-Y flag backdrop

was unveiled, ignited with

strobes, giving the impression that

the band was claiming the theater

and staying a while. Unfortunately,

that one hour of ticket sales a

month and a half prior

was about as long as

the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’

onstage time.

There is no way that

this crazy New York trio

explored their full asskicking

capacity on

Friday night.

Anyone who

saw their explosive live DVD “Tell Me What

Rockers To Swallow,” which was

filmed at the Fillmore Auditorium,

could tell you that.

The hyperactive diva child, Karen


Over-That-Amp Orzalek, bounced

her way into the red draped concert

hall on Friday night, sporting her

newly-fitted bowl cut, ear-to-ear

smile, and a Warholian

nightmare of an


that would have made Bjork uncomfortable.

Guitarist Nick Zinner wore his

usual staid countenance and the one

drama-free member of the band,

endearingly nerdy drummer Brian

Chase, could not look less like a rock

star in his black T-shirt and prescription


Even more bizarre than Miss O

was Imaad Wassif, whose

presence as second guitarist felt intrusive and actually

found a way to diminish the effect of

the band’s sound, making the once

majestic triangle a cramped square.

During those tracks where a third

musician was outright superfluous,

Wassif would simply sit down on

stage bobbing his head or pretend to

be fiddling with a mixer, making

those of us in the audience jealous:

He had the best seat in the house

and it didn’t cost him a dime.

Appearances aside, the brevity and

inflexibility—not to mention mediocrity

—of the band’s new songs off

their March release Show Your Bones

cut the show’s length as the band

omitted only two tracks off of that

album while failing to play more

than four tracks from their outstanding

debut Fever to Tell.

Despite the majority of weak

material on the new album, the

band’s decision to open with the

hypnotic anthem “Fancy” proved

effective, as Zinner unleashed an

unsettling drone mixed with

Karen’s screams to warm up the

crowd. The few seconds of silence

midway through “Phenomena”

left the audience suspended

in Karen’s haunting echo for a

few mesmerizing seconds

before the sudden kick of

Zinner’s growling low


Fever to Tell tracks

included fan favorites

“Y Control” and

“Maps,” along with

“Black Tongue” and

“No No No.” All were performed

with the raw

energy that one would

expect. Hopefully the band

will produce some live-friendly

material soon, although it has

been rumored that Show Your

Bones is their final album.

On a more positive note,

Karen’s fire reaffirmed her

already bona-fide, female,

power-rock star status,

singing “Men don’t like

me ‘cause I’m a warrior”

as she proceeded

to rhythmically

whip the mic cord.

She was the one solid

dimension of the show,

enchanting those in attendance

with her statuesque poses: arm

outstretched churning the microphone

as if to circulate the room’s

energy flow, but all of her antics felt

somewhat superficial as the rest of

the band could not share that same


Each of Orzalek’s screams were

muffled through the overcrowded

amps, but hundreds of cheers

nevertheless followed every

one of them. As “Cheated

Hearts” came on, she sang

those words that rang oh-so-true

that night: “I think that I’m

bigger than the sound.”


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