Thursday, June 08, 2006Blogdammit
So I think it's official now, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the best band on the planet. And a dish much better served in a small venue. I saw them at Berlin's 1000 capacity Postbahnhof almost two weeks ago, and due to a significant number of factors, they rocked a lot harder than at either of their London shows. Reason #1: the venue was smaller. Reason 2#: the barrier was about 30cm from the stage - YYYs are all about an intense energy between the audience and the band, and a row of 7 ugly bouncers does nothing for that delicate chemical balance. Reason 3#: it wasn't full of British people, I hate to be all anti-patriotic (I don't really), but it really seems to be the case that in Britain people just go to gigs because there are tickets. It's a sport going through SeeTickets ever morning and seeing what gigs to go to. There's inevitably a good half of each crowd who couldn't really care less, standing at the back of the venue chatting and drinking Carling. This was the first time YYYs had played in Germany for more than three years and the energy was amazing. And the crowd's energy translated into the YYYs energy and it was all good.
What I particularly love about YYYs is their close eye on their fans. Nick Zinner takes a photograph of every crowd they ever play to, usually during the intro to Maps and he's published three photography books, the latest is titled I Hope You're All Happy Now and contains mainly pictures of front rows. As a front-row fan, I love noticing the looks he steals, his quiet smiles as a crowd surfer struts sweatily along the photo-pit chased out by bouncers. They are constantly changing their setlist, experimenting with running orders, ommissions and rarities. They are aware that they can miss out a single (as they did with Gold Lion and nobody would notice, not because the single was bad, but because they have enough killer material that they don't have to play the same set every night and bore themselves, and consequently not have the same energy. No matter what they play they still make me shake with inexplicable feelings and non-feelings. There are no bands like them and no bands that try to sound like them that even get a whiff of the abstract drama, the inimitable strangeness which has rendered them (probably) the most durably credible of the 2001 New York set.
I bumped into Nick and Brian after the show at Rio and managed to corner Brian for about 25 minutes. We talked about a lot of things, but what really stuck was his disaffection for blogs! Shock! I managed to convince him otherwise - I love blogs (the good, well-written ones) and couldn't perceive how anyone could hate blogs. But then I went on some of the New York ones (everyone and their dog in NYC has a blog) and saw what he meant. Still, we both agreed that Miss ModernAge's coverage of their preview shows for Show Your Bones was excellent. If you haven't read her blog, you really should. It's the best indie-rock blog out there, so says I. Nick told me he wants to move to Berlin - a sensible move indeed. They left at 4am, the wooses, and I couldn't stop smiling all night.