This was supposed to be the highlight of my Big Day Out. I’m not exactly across the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ entire discography, but with a back catalogue featuring modern classics like “Zero,” “Date with the Night” and the achingly melancholic “Maps” (one of the best songs of the past decade), I had high expectations.
As you might’ve guessed, their performance didn’t live up to those expectations. They opened with the driving synth that heralds the start of “Zero,” but the song fell flat for me. As did the next song, and the next. By the time that they launched into what should have been the emotional apex of the festival with “Maps,” I found myself looking at my phone halfway through.
It might have just been the setting – a crowded festival as opposed to an intimate gig. But I think it was Karen O’s voice. She had an infectious energy behind her performance, suiting her glam red leather outfit, but she was yelling rather than singing, her voice lacking the subtlety it has on record. I’m sure it suited the punkier songs, but I wasn’t even around for them – I used the last half of their set to grab dinner.