Sunday, January 03, 2010
Suicide's Frankie Teardrop blasts from the PA, setting the mood to 'evil' before drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner stride out and begin a spindly riff and sparse percussion that lets Karen O’s voice slip in from offstage: ‘Well the floor girl / Is yours girl / To alight / And the score girl / Will be settled / On the floor tonight’. Beneath a giant floating eye surrounded by blue glittering rings comes opener Shake It, climaxing with a ‘Yeah Melbourne!’ from a grinning and sparkling O, who bounds on all animal prowls and baying howls. A YYYs show would be little without near maniacal levels of energy and though O is enthralling as ever, a lack of spontaneity lingers. The songs are good enough to suffice and the band are clearly brilliant musicians - all the better for their restraint they often play with - Chase never breaking a sweat and Zinner eliciting gorgeous textures and sharp riffs from his field of pedals and synth, but they never seem to stretch themselves or try. Perhaps they don’t have to any more.
Giant synth squalls peel out over the crowd with the roving purple spotlights, introducing a storming Heads Will Roll. Shame and Fortune and Dull Life follow and with it the vanishing of any fears that It's Blitz will pale live compared to earlier recordings; it's peaks and troughs, moods and sheer drive (something they've never been short on) are writ large with the songs’ textures allowing the band a calmness and confidence that O conveys wonderfully.
O dresses to accentuate her constant movement; red stockings, floral poncho and patterned dress with dangling knee-length beads, she changes her headwear several times; a PVC balaclava, a fluro Avatar headpiece and a dress that looks like a Navaho tent for Skeletons, a song that doesn’t quite pack the punch it does on record though Soft Shock and Zero blast velvet holes in the back wall while giant inflatable eyeballs bounce over the audience’s heads and confetti cannons burst signalling the set’s end. The predictable three-song encore opens with a blinding Y Control before O intones ‘I guess it's time for a summer love song…we'd like to dedicate this song Rowland S Howard, to Circle Pit and to all you lovers in Melbourne tonight,' and an acoustic take on Maps is nearly drowned by the reaction. Closing with a blistering Date With The Night gives the cause for much high-fiving and air punching from the crowd, soon blinded by a dying blaze of stage lights, squalls of feedback and more Suicide on the PA; quite an end to quite a show.