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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Har Mar Superstar at Edgefield, Wed Aug 14

Posted by Thor Benson on Sat, Aug 17, 2013 at 10:30 AM

You know it’s going to be a good night when someone who looks like Ron Jeremy is opening the show. Har Mar Superstar started the night for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show in Edgefield, and it was a strange spectacle. I watched him pace the stage—clapping all the way—from the raised bullpen they crowd the press and sponsors into. It seemed obvious they didn’t want us set loose on the unsuspecting citizens.

Har Mar Superstar’s style is that of a tongue-in-cheek, funk, theatrical performance that is hard to look away from—even if you want to. The man is the epitome of what one might call a hype man, in the sense that he does unusual dances and projects his voice as much as he can the entire time he is onstage. The crowd watching this surreal circus seemed consumed by a marijuana cloud that swept across the incline of the lawn. The audience was diverse, ranging from mothers reclining on blankets to hippies that formed the concentric circles that had created the previously mentioned cloud. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been a prominent figure in the music scene for about a decade, and it shows in the variety of people who have become fans of their music over those years.

Between sets, the crowd flocked to the sea of Honey Buckets that had been arranged outside of the concert area, and then the battle for the front began. The security guards seemed determined to maintain order among the stampede, and they were not afraid to tell you exactly what they wanted you to do. Everyone navigated the maze of blankets laid out on the lawn like cattle, as if unable to look away from the stage as the headlining band arrived.

It is safe to say Karen O is a seasoned performer. She entered the stage dressed like someone out of an '80s rock group, wearing a hat that made her resemble something of a pharaoh. At times Karen would raise the microphone to the sky, becoming a rock 'n' roll statue of liberty. She played to the audience well, and at one point brought the microphone to the crowd to let them sing her lines. She would kick buttons on the stage and shower the crowd with white confetti, which they were strangely excited about.

The most energetic and well received performance was during the encore, with “Date with the Night,” off of the first Yeah Yeah Yeahs album. It’s a nostalgic song for the band that turned the entire crowd into overzealous school girls. The band’s musical tendencies may have begun to lean toward their pop sensibilities in the last few years, but Karen proved that she is still able to kick some ass and burn the stage. The only downside of show up until then was that the guitar volume seemed noticeably low, which seemed to take away some of the driving force behind several of the songs.

Performance like “Gold Lion” and “Sacrilege” also made the crowd wild. It was a fluid performance, and the differences between each song came off as minimal due to Karen’s consistent energy onstage. It became clear, because of this, why they picked such an excitable opener.

The culminating moment for me, and I would imagine everyone at the show, was when Karen decided to run the microphone down the front of her shirt and into her pants. She seemed to be mimicking what it would like if she had an erection, and the way she was received by the crowd would be a good reason for her to have one. It was a performance akin to strapping yourself with dynamite, and smiling, right before you go out with a bang.

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