A sumptuous pre-summer double act awaited Irish fans on a beaming Wednesday evening as the 3 Arena hosted indie pop punks Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the iconic Beck Hansen, appearing for the first time in Dublin since his Grammy winning Morning Phase tour three years prior. That album saw Beck delve into a deeper, mellowed out acoustic sound a la Sea Change or Mutations while on last year’s Colors the chameleonic singer-songwriter returned to funkier disco pop vibes, and so the audience on hand were right to expect a more vibrant, crowd-pleasing show this time around.
It took a while for the masses to gather and fill out the arena, so that when Yeah Yeah Yeahs took to stage around the 8pm mark, there was an unfortunate excess of space around the venue, though if Karen O and company noticed it was impossible to tell as the garage punk trio burst into life instantly with a sure-fire set of hits mostly taken from their earlier repertoire with early highlights including ‘’Rich’’,‘’Black Tongue’’ and ‘’Cold Light’’, all taken from recently reissued classic debut album Fever To Tell.
Karen O’s stage presence was the real catalyst for some crowd movement, as she entranced fans with her eccentric stage moves and sheer confidence, never once deterred by faulty mics or equipment mishaps. The second half of the set saw a growing crowd begin to show some real signs of life as ‘’Zero’’ and ‘’Heads Will Roll’’ got their expected reactions, but the biggest crowd response of the hour went to a particularly romantic rendition of ‘’Maps’’ after O led all through a rousing ‘’Happy Birthday’’ for drummer Brian Chase’s wife.
The feel-good vibes continued all through the encore as ‘’Y Control’’ and ‘’Date With The Night’’ wrapped things up in style, leaving Irish fans with a reminder of how infectious the New York three-piece can be despite their relative silence over the past five years.
With that sharp set having energised the crowd, fans were ripe with anticipation as Beck made his entrance to a rapturous ovation, kicking off with 90’s alternative rock staples ‘’Loser’’ and ‘’Devils Haircut’’ to roaring approval. The Californians effortless charm was on display for all to see as he referred to his ‘’gueros’’ in the Irish crowd before launching into a pleasing trio of tracks – ‘’E Pro’’, ‘’Que Onda Guero’’ and ‘’Black Tambourine’’ – from the aforementioned album to get fans moving, before a slight left turn into an acoustic midsection of sorts as ‘’Lost Cause’’ and ‘’Debra’’ were accompanied by offbeat tales from Hansen, working the crowd to perfection and even throwing in a seemingly impromptu Prince cover to the delight of all.
From there the focus turned to tracks of the newer variety, and although Colors was an album that may have passed under the radar for many last year, it’s sure to get repeated listens from fans after the show with albums throwback pop vibes (the band referred to it as ‘Sergeant Thriller’ during recording sessions) translating extremely well to a live setting, in particular the title track, ‘’Up All Night’’ and ‘’Dreams’’, all of which could have been counted among the best performances of the night, undoubtedly aided in no small part by an impressive stage setup and the band’s passion for the new material.
Fans of Beck’s earliest lo-fi recordings were in for a treat as the man himself executed some fine harmonica skills for ‘’One Foot In The Grave’’, then capping off an energetic set with an extended ‘’Where It’s At’’, interspersed with band introductions and individual covers ranging from Chic to Gary Numan and Talking Heads, before finishing up with another resounding refrain of the classic Odelay tune. There’s no encore to speak of, but it’s not necessary – the job has been done by the impeccable showman with a wonderfully selected mix of hits new and old, demonstrating once again that 13 albums and 25 years in, Beck is still very much an act not to be missed.
Words: Andrew Lambert