By the time the confetti cannons shot off during the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' especially climactic final song "Date With the Night" at the Armory on Saturday night in Minneapolis, the twirling and shimmering bits of paper floating through the air seemed rather redundant.
The digi-punky New York band has its own human confetti gun in the form of frontwoman Karen O.
Sporting sparkly, red-and-gold-lined, frayed dresses that added to her constant and oftentimes crazed-looking movement, O once again flittered and spun tirelessly across the stage throughout the 85-minute performance. Think Stevie Nicks channeling Iggy Pop.
Her maniacal and downright magical stage presence has been the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' not-so-secret weapon going back to when the trio first came to town to play First Avenue in 2003. First Ave was also the last place the group played here, too — which tells you how long it's been.
Saturday's concert ended a 10-year lull in Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Twin Cities dates. In the interim, the group became a top attraction at major music festivals based largely on its reputation as a live act. It has mostly stuck to fly-in weekend gigs rather than monthslong bus tours of late.
O and her bandmates apparently like Minneapolis enough to book a standalone headlining gig here; good thing, given the drought in music fests locally.
"We've been playing Minneapolis for years, and it's very near and dear to our hearts," O said midconcert before one of the show's top highlights, "Zero," adding a shoutout to First Ave.
"And now we're finally here 10 years later, and it's a Saturday night; there's a full moon, and it's the start of Pride Month."
There were plenty of excuses for the sold-out crowd to have a ball, in other words — and it quite literally did during "Zero," when two giant, inflatable eyeballs were tossed out from the stage and bounced over the 8,000 fans' heads.
The concert kicked off bathed in stark white light during the dramatic, slow, synth-whirring "Spitting Off the Edge of the World," from last year's mellower and moodier album "Cool It Down." Opening act Perfume Genius (Michael Hadreas) joined in on guest vocals for the opening song after putting on his own sonically madcap but eerily elegant 45-minute set.
Things kicked in rhythmically during the second song, "Cheated Hearts," as drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner locked in and masterfully weaved between a steady disco-y groove and bursting bits of punk noise. Zinner showed mad-scientist energy throughout the show, kicking down on a large bed of effects pedals while his hands pulled off more trickery on his guitar.
With fourth member Imaad Wasif newly added to play bass, keyboards and acoustic guitar parts, the band sounded less raw and more refined than 10 years ago. The fuller sound served other, lusher, less guitar-heavy new songs well, including the Siouxsie and the Banshees-flavored "Burning" and dance-driven "Wolf."
The old YYYs' punk-trio energy still reared its monstrous head here and there, though, especially during "Phenomena" — a song O noted they hadn't played in several years. Lucky us.
As the show wore/tore on, it built in intensity starting with the gospel-tinged "Sacrilege" and then the hauntingly lovelorn fan favorite "Maps." O dedicated the latter song to a couple of musical Minnesota couples: Alan Sparhawk and the late Mimi Parker of Low fame, and her longtime friend Sean "Har Mar Superstar" Tillmann and his wife.
After a rousing pre-encore finale with "Gold Lion" and "Heads Will Roll," the group returned as a stripped-back trio to grind its way through "Date With the Night." O repeatedly swung and threw her microphone hard against the stage at show's end, as if to emphasize there was no coming back. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another 10 years for her to come back and wreak havoc on this town again.