Review and photos by Jason Anfinsen (Jerk Alert Productions/KNDD)
Tuesday April 25, 2006. 7:45 p.m. Flashback twenty-five minutes ago to when this kid right here was geeking out on free wi-fi at Bauhaus Coffee. The sun was slipping into darkness and I see Brian Chase, drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, wander in. I wouldn't call it stalking if THEY enter MY neighborhood. I mean I have a tattoo of Drew Barrymore, which some would call overboard, but I'm totally floating dry. I'm the loudest foul mouth drunk at every happy hour bash but I felt it very necessary to grab my GOODWILL AMBASSADOR sash off the rusty nail in my tiny closet and wear it proud. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were in my sector, mi barrio, performing at the Paramount Theater which is a mere footstep away from this Bellevue Mental Hospital .
"You dudes looking for something to do?" I asked with a spastic energy. The group jumped and turned with great caution towards my boisterous question and me. "I'm going to the rocky role shoe two nite. I KNOW who you are." I winked to seal the deal. They began cautiously stepping backwards in the opposite direction. "Just want to make sure you kiddos know how SEATTLE holds it down, clown!" My rhymes were devastating in this otherwise uncomfortable situation. I was spitting pure blue flame. "All up and down this street is some crazy shit. Bars like Bus Stop, Kincora Pub and the Blue Bottle art gallery, Spine and Crown books...if you hit the Broadway gutter punks then you've gone too far bros."
I shot out of the scene like a fucking bulletproof missile; nothing could penetrate my glowing awesomeness. They were very impressed with all of me.
The east coast crew, Brian and a couple of dudes from possibly the road crew, stood mesmerized by my astounding grasp of this Capitol Hill. They stared in wonder at my superior knowledge of a region they were obviously unfamiliar with. I saluted the Big Apple posse goodbye. I firmly slammed my hand on Brian's shoulder and whispered these words of godlike wisdom, "have a killer show bra."
I shot out of the scene like a fucking bulletproof missile; nothing could penetrate my glowing awesomeness. They were very impressed with all of me. As I strutted my desirable stuff back to this studio cell I realized that the YYYs were here...close to me, just like that demon president Hu Jintao of China was only a few nasty weeks back. You know that I couldn't just let the kids who create mi favorito musica grande walk away without more of what they came to love...this fucking Jason Anfinsen.
I kicked open door 101 and grabbed the only thing I could...copies of my book, Stab At Sleep. There was some real real wild red cellophane wrap that I strapped one of the reads neatly into...the others were placed in some cosmic silver paper that blinked hallucinatory circles whenever it hit the light right. I made gay little nametags for each 'Yeah', Brian, Nick and Karen-O. It was mildly annoying to have to write O after Karen, but then again Jim Osterburg is dead, but Iggy Pop will live forever. A couple of buttons & funpack stickers and the complimentary Cap Hill gift packages are complete...hurray for crazy!
Quickly, sweating horrendous, I slammed this door shut and ran up Pine. I'm wearing these metallic Sheriff's glasses that shield the sun like atomic warfare. No one can see what the fuck I'm seeing, not them, not me, no one knows what I see. This olive stocking cap is perched atop of the dome so imperfect that my get up would be considered suspicious by anyone really really paying attention to my infatuation. Luckily, the only buckaroos that know me well in Seattle America are all bartending...
The Jive Time records joint up the block is where I tracked Brian down. Once I knew the coast to the RECORD STORE was clear, I made my move upstairs, twisting my ass up those curvy steps, my scurvy spine all out of alignment. I found him.
"I made you some gifts."
"Oh how sweet of you, thanks."
"Its my first book, I want you all to have one."
Brian grabs his, I put his one top, it said Brian, his name was Brian, and so he grabbed the right book. For some reason, I'm never going to understand why, he didn't take the other books. Um dude...I said I've got free bookies for every bodeeeeee!!!
"Could you give these to the Karen and that Nick?"
"Sure, absolutely. Thank you again that's very kind."
Silence. Standing still. No breath. No one moves. Infinite stop sign. No patience. Unsettling. Looking at ground. Looking at other side of room. Nothing to say. I got fed up with being so much of a SPAZZATROID that I took a deep breath and leaned in close, "have a killer show bra." I winked again, this time with the other eye, cuz I can do that.
Inside the Paramount Theater now. Curious mix of squeaky high school girls and middle aged cools all on cellies. Everyone dressed obnoxious. Bright loud gear. Smellies abound. Hand made chop suits. Fluorescent striped baby doll dresses, stockings for gloves, fishnets on faces, it's a disaster fashion scene. As the squashed remains of a Led Zepplin "Whole Lotta Love" slaughtering Snoop's "Drop It Like Its Hot" mashup leaks through the speakers, the highly anticipated showgram begins promptly at 9:30.
My first song prediction did not come true, what else is new. I spouted off around town that the pulsating kick drum start of "Cheated Hearts" would set the night right, but no no, the Brooklyn trio (joined on tour by Imaad Wasif) decided to pick my least favorite track on the Show Your Bones piece, "Fancy." My ears burst into flames and my brain alarmed my entire being that this pick was a bad sign, eerie start to the sonic evening that I had long anticipated.
Karen-O sports some thrifty housewife uniform meant for a lady half her size, real snug fitting sleeveless dressy poo, yellow and orange - color blind sees her fine, all right. Clutches the green glow taped microphone in her right, same fist sheathed in sparkly black glove, and with the left she punches the air for one of many Karate poses. Weed smoke permeates which is DOUBLE illegal you hooligans...we all signed a smoking ban and we meant NO SMOKING! I managed to find the perp and while I wagged my finger at him I sucked down a mind-blowing stream of Seattle's finest.
"Honeybear" forced the audience into action but already my miserable tinnitus ears could hear that the audio was soft, totally bland, face flat, nowhere near maximum deafness. Kids dancing, lots of arms, people bumping into my writing hand and the ink makes erratic scratch lines.
The clap attack smacks back over the bridge of "Hearts," which featured a brief strip tease by Karen which made just about every crotch in the spot scream for more.
"Pin" is the first pick from the Fever To Tell track basket, which straight segued like an ass tight Top 40 disc jockey into the current radio smasharoo, "Gold Lion." By now the crowd, predominantly young petite flowers in this SOUNDGARDEN are being hammered home by new nu gnew songs that I don't think many heads knew. The historic venue was nowhere near filled to fire hazard...another sure sign of trouble.
Big sloth-like intro of gloom lit the fuse for "Cheated Hearts," their fifth song of the set, which worked EXACTLY as I imagined it...as the first. Que Sera Sera. The restless crowd clapped along to Chase's pounding kick drum, boom boom boom clap clap clap. After taking a slurp of water from the complimentary bottle, Orzolek decides to spit the geyser into the sky like the fountains of Grant Park in Chicago. The clap attack smacks back over the bridge of "Hearts," which featured a brief strip tease by Karen which made just about every crotch in the spot scream for more.
Once again we surrender our souls to a sad start to "Dudley," which is a real somber score. "Mysteries" hit and spit into overdrive with a punk burst of air that breathed fresh life into the sleepy mass of gussied up nobodies. "Art Star" was one of two gooey pimples popped off the Master EP. Highlighted by a hypnotizing display of chord whips and microphone inhalation, O fling flang flung the electrical wire high high into the night, quickly snapping it back to spit her next line of venom.
"Phenomena" into "Miles Away" then "Warrior," my absolute favorite song trapped on that head scratching new album, which sounded absolutely DEAD. The entire number lacked, how you say, LIFE. The event finally became a memory with "Y Control." "Thank you Seattle we're the Yeah Yeah Yeahs," was the only banter chatter spat by O as the band fled back to the quiet dressing room. Lights fade to black with a faint wash illuminating the silver/black Y flag strewn across the backdrop of the stage.
"Who are you writing a review for?," some teenybopper asked me.
"The United States Government," I replied. "I would like to ask you a few questions."
"Um, that's cool, I think I hear my dad outside."
By this time my notes remind me that the entire set seemed unrealistically mellow. The performance, the evening, lacked the murderous blast of viciousness I saw on the Tell Me Which Rockers To Swallow DVD. Throughout the hour-long set, the guitars faded away like some C-list child star. I thought Public Enemy and Anthrax asked everyone to "bring tha noize," so where in god's foul name was it? Sometimes we all bust a bad nut, these things happen.
I have read reports of fighting within the band. The ticket sales for this show were almost non-existent, and maybe the battle between JOB and ART is taking its toll on this beautiful troupe. Brian's peculiar drumming technique was extremely fun to watch and Karen's childlike smile in between roof blasting body bounces definitely makes the crush thicken. Nick took pictures of the audience and played it smooth, cool hand Zinner. There is much love for this ensemble. The energy has dissipated over time and trials which come with aging, growing, and learning in this ever changing planet Earth. I hope the boys and girl can kiss and make up, dress up, and throw back up the same maniacal, raw, dangerous and original ART that made me fall in love with them in the first place.
After a long and annoying break the gang returned for a special acoustic version of "Maps." A version of this number can be found on the Endsessions Volume 4 CD (holla). The closing knockout punch on Bones, "Turn Into," was the evening's fourteenth number which faded away and beat back to existence in the form of "Black Tongue," which ultimately licked this adventure shut.
Wandering amidst the colorfully cute cattle being herded towards the exits, I turned back to the stage to see Brian Chase, OLD FRIEND from way back earlier in the day, as he bowed to a smattering of applause from the YYY faithful. I smiled and remembered just how much I dying heart love this band, their recordings, their art. They are everything. I'm happy that I got to be a part of their creating process and performance history. I was there. As he walked off stage, Chase was mouthed something to the crowd which very much looked like, "thank you for the books Jason Anfinsen," but I can't be too sure...
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
April 25, 2006
Jason Anfinsen is a professional noisemaker who has performed weirdo kkkomedy for the past decade at theaters and comedy festivals in Singapore, London, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, and Seattle. Jason is the founder and artistic director of Jerk Alert Productions, an independent theatrical revolution that produces experimental stage, film, sound, and print projects on Capitol Hill in Seattle America. Anfinsen has written freelance pieces for Redefine Magazine, Capitol Hill Times, UR Chicago, The Tripwire, and is the author of STAB AT SLEEP, a bizarre collection of fuckjaw poetry, homicidal tangents, and stupid monologues. His loudmouth voice has blasted 103.1 The Buzz in West Palm Beach, Virgin Radio in New York City, and can be heard screaming every weekend on 107.7 The End in Seattle. Stop killing, start supporting underground art.