Kings of Leon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs Wrap Austin City Limits Day One

October 3rd, 2009 by J. Edward Keyes Leave a reply »

Photo: Miller/FilmMagic

There was a large eyeball suspended at the rear of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ stage setup Friday night, a fitting prop for a band that prides itself on spectacle. The band’s Austin City Limits show was the second for which they stepped in as a replacement for the ailing Beastie Boys (the first was Lollapalooza), and if some of their typical razor sharpness had been blunted from all the subbing, that just meant that they were merely the fourth best live band around.

See Day One of Austin City Limits in photos.

In fact, the greatest casualty of the YYYs’ rigorous schedule is O’s voice. Normally a shrill and vibrant shriek, on Friday it was shocking in its bluntness — more grunt than tone. But O used the gruffness to her advantage, scuffing up some of the prettier numbers from the group’s largely electronic It’s Blitz! to lend them a kind of violent power. “Honeybear” felt fierce and edgy, Nick Zinner’s guitar grimy, practically oozing sound. “Gold Lion” has steadily grown into a stomping monster of a song, and Karen threw herself into it, swooping across the stage with grand, exaggerated gestures. The band excels at both energy and economy — their songs are built on just a handful of notes, but they’re delivered with maximum charisma.

See backstage photos of Phoenix, Avett Brothers, Blitzen Trapper and more at ACL.

If there was any drawback to the group’s performance it was the sound: mixed oddly and a shade quieter than it should have been, it rendered much of the set peculiarly low-wattage. Which was more of a problem for Kings of Leon, who rely on volume to help convey their music’s remarkable stridency. The Kings pull of an interesting trick — most of their newer material is quiet and coiled, but they somehow manage to...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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