Show Review: Heads Roll for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at MGM Music Hall

Photos by Campbell Parish

By Annie Sarlin, Staff Writer

Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Venue: MGM Music Hall at Fenway

When: Monday, November 7th



On Monday night, fans of all ages gathered to see indie-rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at MGM Music Hall. The audience erupted into cheers as drummer Brian Chase slammed on the kick pedal and singer Karen O took the stage adorned in a billowing cape, a sparkly red headdress and a jumpsuit covered in firework designs.

Even without her vibrant costume, the talent of the singer lit up the venue. As a performer myself, I admired O’s stage presence and stamina. The audience fed off of her energy, jumping up and down with her to the band’s hit “Heads Will Roll,” and swaying and screaming along to her dissonant, beautiful vocals on “Maps.” She moved around the stage naturally and gracefully and captivated the audience as her red fringe sleeves trailed behind her. Despite dancing around throughout the entire show, her powerful vocals seemed effortless, even as she switched between screaming and delivering a softer, breathy sound. 

While eyes and ears naturally go towards O’s animated performance, the rest of the band equally impressed me. Nick Zinner demonstrated great musicianship and versatility, swapping between guitar and keyboard many times throughout the performance, and often even playing both in the same song. Chase kept the band grounded on the drums, and a smile rarely left his face as he performed and played impressive fills with ease. 

Throughout the Yeah Yeah Yeahs discography, they find the perfect balance between experimental sounds while still creating catchy, danceable songs. As a fan of all of their albums, I thought that this concert did a great job of incorporating songs from throughout their career.



It takes a great deal of courage and skill to perform alone, and even more so to hype up a crowd without the support of other musicians. While SASAMI typically plays with a full band, she is performing solo on her opening dates for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The singer did an incredible job waking up the audience on this dreary Monday night. She moved around the stage with ease as she sang, played guitar and interacted with the crowd all at once. Her experimental vocal style — a mix of heavier belts and softer breathy inflections — as well as her infectious enthusiasm made it clear why the headliner chose this singer to open for them. Without any prior knowledge of the artist going into her performance, I thoroughly enjoyed her music and intend to explore more of her work. 



In honor of the band’s first record, Fever to Tell, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the band dedicated the encore to songs from the album, much to the delight of fans. The audience hung on O’s every word, cheering after each stanza of the bluesy “Poor Song.”

The band concluded the show with “Date With the Night,” featuring a long, dramatic and truly rock & roll ending, complete with solos, drum fills and a big finish. A twist on the common guitar smash seen in hair metal, O took her microphone and spun it in the air, thrashed it against the stage and even placed it down her jumpsuit before gifting it to an excited audience member. 

Between the band’s contagious energy, the lively crowd, the giant eye beach balls thrown around the floor and the pink “Y” shaped confetti shot into the audience, this performance was an absolute joy to attend.

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