Fight Likes Apes opening for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Flippin brilliant. In fact it was so flippin brilliant that swells of superlatives rushed to the front of State’s skull and left us feeling a little queasy with excitement. However after the initial elation we were hoping to God that they could live up to our expectations. That they did. May Kay completely owned the St George’s market stage, yelping manically, throwing herself around the stage and getting members (albeit not the most vocally gifted members) of the audience to sing the lyrics for her. They were affectionately watched on by a visibly smiling Karen O and Nick Zinner, who went on to show their appreciation by dedicating a song to them later on in the night. ‘Lend Me Your Face’ and ‘Battle stations’ seemed to get the biggest reactions of the night with the latter seeing Pockets trash his keyboard in his typically apeish fashion much to the distructo-lust of the Belfast crowd.
Then we have it! The Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ first Belfast show and its about bloody time. Us Northern folk have a taste for fashionista electro punk too, its not just all Belfast bap’s and sectarianism up here you know. However, to be fair, Karen O does apologise several times throughout the night for not coming here sooner and its hard not to believe her with her constant grinning and tomfoolery. She takes to the stage like an indie Mortisha Adams, draped in a gothic throw and a single pink fluorescent glove. Every pair of eyes in the room are firmly fixed on her. Watching her bump and writhe through set opener -Dull Life’ is a privilege for the Belfast audience. The bright colours, the showmanship and most importantly the faultless fashionista alt pop is like the most welcoming smack to the face.
-Black Tongue’ sends the crowd into raptures, with Karen O shooting confetti with some sort of bazooka, presumably one she may have procured from The Flaming Lips travelling truck of fun. Nick Zinner lays down a ferociously fat bass line for ‘Shame and Fortune’ and takes things a little more electro orientated with -Skeletons’, both originating from new album It’s Blitz. Its no surprise with the recent release of said album that it is a set heavily reliant on new material. From all the new material played -Heads Will Roll’ stands out the most, its creepy organ/synth intro sets the scene for a 70’s B class horror film. The repetitive vocal melody is the mantra of the evening and has the audience transfixed on the erratic dancing of Karen O.
The YYY’s disappear off stage for five minutes, annoyingly making us wait for the predictable return to stage. We don’t get this strange ritual, just play the full set and then disappear into the night. Anyway, they return with a stripped back acoustic version of ‘Maps’. It was a fantastic dynamic change that turned the Belfast crowd into a welled up choir. The emotion was clear on Karen O’s face as was it to the starry eyed girls moved to tears near the front. The YYY’s came, saw and conquered with the help of the Fight Like Ape’s scurvy crew. We can safely say that they will be back to Belfast very soon after the warm and glowing reception they received. Potentially Belfast’s gig of the year.
Photos: Claire Weir