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Coachella Week: Electrifying Yeah Yeah Yeahs close out four nights of great performances

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Fresh off a killer Coachella performance, Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrilled the crowd at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool on April 13.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna/erikkabik.com
Jason Harris

Proverbial heads indeed did roll. They bounced, nodded, sang and metaphorically danced till they were dead as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs finished out the best four-day concert package in recent memory at the Boulevard Pool on Saturday night. Karen O and company scorched the Cosmopolitan with their firebrand indie rock that enraptured the crowd from beginning to end.

O is a spellbinding performer, commanding attention and keeping the crowd in the palm of her hand all night long. Dressed as if she was a 1980s professional wrestling manager—decked out in red jeans and fringed red leather jacket bedazzled with rhinestones—O changed her headgear often, wearing a miner’s light on her forehead, a shimmering zebra-striped shawl of sorts, and singing an entire song with a shiny purple piece covering her entire head. Her primal screams ripped through the night sky, the roar of what rock ‘n roll should be. In 2004, YYY dropped a DVD called Tell Me What Rockers Swallow. On this night, the answer was often the microphone as O’s mouth engulfed it, a prime resting place for her to bellow and cackle.

The entire band was on fire—Nick Zinner and touring member David Pajo owning the guitars and keyboards while drummer Brian Chase pacing the band hard all night. “Sacrilege,” the first single off soon-to-be-released album Mosquito, features a choir that O whales over and the catchiest guitar hook this year. It’s like going to the church of punk rock.

All three YYY albums were well-represented. From 2003’s Fever To Tell, “Man” was a high energy early set surprise, monster hit “Maps” had the entire audience viscerally yelling, “Wait, they don’t love you like I love you,” and “Date With A Man” was the perfect amped up encore closer. Dance rockers off Show Your Bones (2006) included “Gold Lion” and the dirty in the best possible way “Phenomena.” “Zero” from It’s Blitz! (2009) was another audience favorite, but perhaps nothing hyped the crowd more than “Heads Will Roll,” an apropos anthem of the night, bringing New York swagger to the Las Vegas scene. O enthusiastically told the crowd that this was their “best Vegas show ever” and the swarm at the pool was ecstatic to be a part of it.

Those heads likely kept rolling all the way home, mostly in amazement of the incredible effort put on by the YYYs.

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