Yeah Yeah Yeahs at The Armory in Minneapolis, MN

Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Armory Minneapolis | Photo by Zach Birdsong

On their first U.S. tour in nearly a decade, Yeah Yeah Yeahs came to Minneapolis playing The Armory with support from Perfume Genius.

Perfume Genius opened the sold-out show with a hauntingly beautiful 45-minute performance. While having a soft voice, his expressions and on-stage demeanor helped elevate his stage time, giving life to every song. In some ways, Perfume Genius’ stage persona was reminiscent of The 1975 lead singer Matty Healy in the sense that he can tell a story and engage the audience. It made for a fascinating way to start the evening and had fans ready for the headliner.

A lot has happened in the nearly 10 years since Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed in the Twin Cities. As the headliners took the stage, they were greeted with a massive ovation. While the crowd roared to welcome Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ return to Minnesota, the band had a party in store during Saturday’s performance because, as lead singer Karen O said, “There’s a lot to celebrate.” 

Since their last Minneapolis concert, each member of Yeah Yeah Yeahs has stayed busy. Each individual in the trio kept working in the music scene with various collaborations before reforming for the occasional festival appearance. Late last year, Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their fifth studio album, Cool It Down, and the band hit the road to celebrate. 

The group had another milestone that was worth celebrating before touring got underway. In April, it was the 20th anniversary of their debut record, Fever to Tell. So when it came to writing the setlist for these show dates, the band must have had three goals: highlight the new tracks, dive deep into their discography, and make sure to play the hits. If that was the plan, Yeah Yeah Yeahs executed it perfectly and made Saturday’s performance fun. 

The show started with guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase taking their spots. Shortly after that, the opening notes of the first track of their latest album, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” rang out. Seconds later, Karen O made her way to the stage, instantly captivating the audience with her bright and colorful wardrobe. Perfume Genius added to the fun, coming out for a duet, as was initially recorded on the track. 

Throughout the nearly 90-minute performance, it became hard for audience members not to be entirely captivated by Karen O. At moments, she danced around on stage, floating around like a ballerina. Then there were other times when her punk persona came out, ultimately ending with her smashing her microphone into oblivion during “Date With the Night,” which had fans cheering wildly. She even involved the crowd in the performance, adding to the party-like atmosphere.

Near the set’s midpoint, the opening notes of fan-favorite “Zero” rang through the speakers. Late in the track, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ road crew brought out a pair of giant inflated eyeballs as they and Karen O tossed them into the crowd. After recognizing the opening notes of the track, the crowd’s energy was already at a high. That reaction was amplified once they could participate in the showcase, and as the song concluded, the group received one of their biggest cheers of the night. 

While there was joy amongst crowd members, there was also a sense of nostalgia, which Yeah Yeah Yeahs played into early in their set. Early in the performance, the band played “Y Control,” a track from their debut album. Along with the 20-year-old song being played, the band incorporated photos of the group from their younger days on the screen. It made for a fantastic moment to reflect on how long Yeah Yeah Yeahs has been together. Saturday also proved that despite not going on a proper U.S. tour in the last decade, Yeah Yeah Yeahs will forever have a large fan base, and hopefully, for Twin Cities fans, it won’t be another 10 years until they return.

YEAH YEAH YEAHS
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THE ARMORY
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About Zach Birdsong 39 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.