Yeah Yeah Yeahs Returned to Houston After 17 Years

Written by on May 10, 2023

The last time the band played in Houston was in 2006, in the small room at Warehouse Live. Now, New York legends Yeah Yeah Yeahs took on 713 Music Hall, 17 years laters.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (which consists of Karen O, Brian Chase and Nick Zinner) is one of the most symbolic indie/alternative bands from the early stages of garage punk in New York. They self-released their debut self-titled EP, which led them to open for indie legends like The White Stripes and the Strokes. The NYC band released their critically acclaimed debut album Fever to Tell in 2003, which turned 20 earlier this year. The went on to release other albums like It’s Blitz! and Show Your Bones. They released their fourth album Mosquito before the band went on hiatus in 2014. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs made their return in 2017, and surprised fans alike by releasing their fifth album Cool It Down 9 years after their hiatus.

Cool It Down was notably immaculate in terms of musicality and songwriting – as it marked their comeback, the 8-track piece featured consistent tones, messaging and showed how much the band has matured over their hiatus. They released their first comeback single called “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” featuring Perfume Genius, and other album singles like “Wolf” and “Burning.” Cool It Down was released on September 30th, which resulted in two Grammy nominations in 2023 for Best Alternative Album and Best Alternative Performance.

Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Cool It Down' – Rolling Stone
Courtesy of Rolling Stone

The NYC band announced their first set of shows, which included two Texas stops in Houston and Dallas. These cities would be notable as the band hadn’t played a show at these cities in almost 17 years, as they played in Houston and Dallas back in 2006. The last time Yeah Yeah Yeahs were in Austin was in 2019 for the one-off show called Date with the Night, where the band held a pre-screening for their Fever to Tell Era Tour Documentary titled There is No Modern Romance.

713 Music Hall was packed with fans from all over the nation (including a couple from San Fransisco and a solo traveler from Orlando), and the anticipation was at an all time high. The Houston date would mark their 2nd show of the spring tour, meaning the setlist was up in the air. In true YYYs fashion, the setlist will be rotating at every show, meaning they’ll be switching the order and changing songs throughout the tour. As soon as Zinner, Chase and Imaad Waasif walked on stage, Karen O followed wearing a beautiful mylar dress and matching hat, seen before at Riot Fest 2022. They opened with “Spitting Off the Edge of the World,” followed by “Cheated Hearts” and “Pin.”

For the first highlight of the night, YYYs performed “Shame and Fortune” from the album It’s Blitz for the first time since 2013, which Karen O claimed it was special track for Houston. They played newer tracks “Burning,” “Lovebomb” and “Wolf,” mixed in with some cult classics like “Soft Shock,” “Maps” and “Gold Lion.” They also played “Zero,” and although Karen O didn’t wear the signature “Zero” leather jacket, the band’s team got the party started by throwing large inflatable eyeballs to the crowd. They ended their set with “Heads Will Roll,” and everyone in the venue was on their feet.

For the encore, they performed “Y Control” with an extended intro – Karen O and Zinner were sharing a special moment as they got in sync for the song, an absolute beautiful moment to witness. The crowd starting chanting and swaying to the song, eventually followed by the last song of the night “Date with the Night.” Everyone stood still before the last chorus, allowing the audience to scream their hearts out. Karen O destroyed her mic like a true rockstar and ended the night by saying “Thank you Houston, we’re the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.”

Their return was immaculate – they treated Houston with a collection of fan favorites and everyone in the venue had a blast. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs performs in such a way that entice the entire crowd – Karen O jumps all over the stage like no one is watching, Chase drums like an animal, and Zinner completely shreds the guitar (can’t forget his photography skills). While they are set to perform at this year’s Austin City Limits Festival, hopefully it won’t take them 17 years to return to Houston.

Fun Little Fact: Karen O handed me her broken microphone after “Date with the Night.” I was full of happiness and could NOT stop smiling.

  • Keylee Paz

    I am a UH Graduate Student majoring in Mass Communications, a UT Austin alum and an aspiring music journalist! My hobbies include photography, traveling for shows/festivals and taking strolls with my husky baby Luna Zoe.

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