The Yeah Yeah Yeahs publicity thunderstorm soldiered on last night, with the oh-my-gosh-they’re-everywhere band making a stop at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Karen O and company have graced both the Saturday Night Live and David Letterman stages this week, in addition to playing a much-gossiped about secret small-club show and having their single “Zero” remixed by Animal Collective. Allow me to take a collective breath for all of us: Whew. It’s pretty swell that the band (and their rock-solid album, It’s Blitz) has been getting all of this lavish exposure, but how were the actual performances themselves? Watch them all after the jump (save for the full SNL clip, which has sadly been taken from YouTube).
“Heads Will Roll” on Jimmy Fallon:
They were the most relaxed on Fallon, hands-down. Understandable, since his show isn’t quite in the same league as the other two. (Maybe someday, Jimmy.) The synths, guitars, and drums all sounded quite nice, and Karen O’s dance moves were actually fairly fluid, unlike the yoga-like poses she usually does. My reservations are centered on the song itself. I’m not sure I’m into it as much as “Zero.” But when the band is having this much fun, I can’t complain much. Grade: B+
“Zero” on David Letterman:
I love that Letterman introduced them by saying they’re a “rock-and-roll band.” The Yeah Yeah Yeahs look like rock-and-roll, an increasingly rare breed in music these days when you have bands like Vampire Weekend show up on stage in sweater vests and button-ups. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Vampire Weekend.) Even better, their sound was much crisper and livelier on Letterman, and this performance of “Zero” easily trumps the one on SNL. In fact, I can’t find anything wrong with it. Can you? Grade: A
“Maps” on Saturday Night Live:
Many bands unfortunately find out the hard way that the SNL stage is a) nervous-making and b) not all that conducive to awesome performances in the sound department. If TV on the Radio can go on SNL and get panned, it’s got to be a ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ kind of thing. The group sang “Zero” and then pleasantly surprised by busting out “Maps.” Now, I fear I may be a little biased in favor of these performances: I first saw them in-person when I attended the dress rehearsal at NBC Studios (thanks for the tickets, Michael Ausiello!) Having watched both performances when they were still on YouTube, however, Karen O’s voice did sound tentative at points. But only just a little. Can I also kindly ask why these are not on Hulu? Come on, NBC! People watch SNL for the musical guests, too. Grade: B
What say you, Mixers? What was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ best performance this week? And were any of you lucky enough to attend the secret Santos Party House show?
More from EW’s Music Mix:
Is Will Oldham right about Wes Anderson’s ‘completely cancerous approach to using music’ in movies?
Zooey Deschanel sings about the touch, the feel of cotton: Hear it here
Moby’s new video with David Lunch: Wonderfully strange