This Beck and Yeah Yeah Yeahs Dublin gig is an indie-head’s wet dream


As ‘one night only’ promises go, a team-up of Beck and Yeah Yeah Yeahs was a wtf indie wet dream when it was announced last December. Both acts were booked in Europe around the same time and the planets aligned to drag them both to Dublin for one show – with overseas sites telling readers to book flights over to see the NYC indie-rockers and the veteran leftfield pop polymath.

They’re sharing the bill at a few festivals – like All Points East in London this weekend – but the one night/one roof aspect of this gig has all the makings of a classic.

If anything, there’s even more hype now after the PR hyperbole and pre-Christmas ticket-buying blitz has died down. A few weeks ago you couldn’t navigate the online music sites without bumping into think-pieces about the 15th anniversary of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut album Fever To Tell, released on April 29, 2003. Beck’s 13th album Colors also ended up in plenty of the 2017 best-of lists, with its freewheeling psychedelic pop feeling like a light-hearted balm after 2014’s introspective Morning Phase.

Even though both acts are revered by critics, with barely any missteps along the way, the return of Yeah Yeah Yeahs is the biggest headline-grabber. Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase last played Ireland at Longitude 2013, punching through the early evening summer sun with punk snarls and electro bouncing – and Karen in a glittery suit kicking a giant inflatable eyeball into the crowd.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ last release was the single Despair just a few weeks after that Longitude show – the second single off their third album Mosquito. A hiatus followed, with a few live shows last year and a re-release of Fever To Tell to get us reacquainted.

But we don’t really need that re-release to feel the sound of Yeah Yeahs Yeahs. The trio – especially Fever To Tell and its follow-up It’s Blitz! Are one of the classic bands of the 2000s, with Pitchfork voting Fever To Tell the No5 LP of the decade. Their singles like Date With the Night, Zero, Heads Will Roll and Y Control are era-defining records, while Maps is one of the all-time classic indie-rock torch songs, that’s been covered endlessly and even appropriated by the Black Eyed Peas and Beyonce – with YYYs getting a writing credit on Lemonade for the Hold Up chorus.

Beck is another artist with a few unlikely crossover forays. Passive music fans may be oblivious to most of the music on his 13 albums, but stick on Loser and they’ll automatically be transported to the mid-90s, whether they were there or not.

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Loser was the lead single and opening track of the 1994 breakthrough album Mellow Gold – and up there with Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, The Cranberries’ Zombie and Beastie Boys’ Sabotage as the alt-rock anthem of the year. Loser – and the whole of Mellow Gold – set out Beck’s stall from the off in the post-grunge era.

An antidote to mid-90s detritus like Creed, Staind and the too-polished Foo Fighters, Beck’s irreverent mix of hip-hop, lounge music, slacker country, 70s FM rock and wry lyrics gave him a foundation for the next 20-odd years, without having to pander to anyone – his fans haven’t a clue where he’ll go next.

Whether that’s the Dust Brothers hip-hop of Odelay, the tender countrified arrangements on Sea Change or the luxurious electronic ambience and psychedelia of Morning Phase, the excitement is always wondering what he’ll do next.

Since this is a double-header both acts will keep you wondering whether they’ll team up together on the night, but even if that’s a step too far, it should still be an ‘I was there’ moment.

Beck and Yeah Yeah Yeahs play Dublin’s 3Arena tonight, May 23. Tickets are still available from ticketmaster.ie.

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Published in Irish Daily Star
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