On the second of two nights at the Hollywood Bowl with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Young Fathers, LCD Soundsystem brought the dance-friendly sounds of American Dream to the LA masses. Of course, the hits had their moment too. But before LCD took the stage, Yeah Yeah Yeahs gave the group a tough show to follow. As detailed in Grimy Goods’ October show review, front-woman Karen O delivered her signature stage antics that involved mouthing a mic and lassoing it above her head, as though she were a snake charmer. This Hollywood Bowl show was no different. Karen O is a rock ‘n’ roll goddess and has an unmatched stage presence. She wiggles, jumps and riles across the stage taking all those before her along for a wild ride. With Nick Zinner proving to be a musical mastermind switching out guitars for keys, and them some, Yeah Yeah Yeahs got the crowd up and out of their seats right from the jump. It was a rare moment if you weren’t singing along to songs like “Zero” and “Gold Lion” or thrashin’ about to the manic melodies of “Heads Will Roll.”
I [Sandra Olinger] have seen LCD many times, even before their “break up” — while the band is always a fun time, I gotta admit, there were some moments of boredom where people were just chillin’ in their seats … perhaps they just came for the hits or found LCD’s initial downtempo electronics too much of a comedown after the ultimate high that was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ set. With the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the band didn’t miss a beat with the crowd. Even slow-burning ballads like “Runaway” and the iconic “Maps” had fans fully enveloped in the chaotic and sometimes tender beauty that is Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was shocking to hear that [Friday] was the first time the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had ever played the Bowl. After seeing both LCD and Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform at the Hollywood Bowl — and comparing the vibes — *Yeah Yeah Yeahs could EASILY hold their own at the Hollywood Bowl.
*hint hint, LA Phil. Make it happen.
Now, back to LCD Soundsystem at Hollywood Bowl
James Murphy and his cohorts worked like scientists in a lab; each at their respective station manipulating their own variables with intense focus, but working for a collective breakthrough. I’d say they found it in the double drop of “Dance Yrself Clean.”
On a personal note, it took years of listening and a random night spent watching Shut Up And Play The Hits for me to really let LCD Soundsystem under my skin. But under my skin it’s crawled and buried and built a home. This was made all the more apparent in what has become one of my favorite moments since moving to LA. Drunk and dancing in a Venice apartment, celebrating a birthday of someone I still don’t know, I froze and nearly crashed like the waves outside the front door. I heard them; those pulsing opening synths to “Someone Great.” It was late enough in the night that the people still remaining were randomly taking control of the aux cord, and this song happened to be put on by the guitarist of a band I grew up listening to, have shot multiple times, and somehow get to hang out with from time to time. For the next six and half minutes, the guitarist, my photography mentor, and myself were locked in. Unable to do anything but dance and scream along. And that is the power of James Murphy’s ranting lyrics and repetitious melodies. The power of a mad scientist.
Photography & Words: Kirby Gladstein
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Review: Sandra Olinger