Belatedly, here's a considered opinion on my time spent in the company of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Bell X1 in Koln on Sunday May 3rd and Wednesday May 6th, respectively.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sunday May 3rd, Live Music Hall, Koln
Heads Will Roll
An odd setlist, I found. Given that they're promoting their third album, their setlist showed a heavy emphasis on Fever To Tell. I wasn't worried, though, given that both singles from the new offering, Zero and Heads Will Roll, sound terrible live. It's what you expect from the YYYs; Karen's dressed wonderfully, Nick's shredding some serious guitar and Brian is looking cold and sombre. Some low points, but the high points made up for it. Must try harder.
Bell X1, Wednesday May 6th, Blue Shell, Koln
How Your Heart Is Wired
Bad Skin Day
Next To You
The Ribs Of A Broken Umbrella
My First Born For A Song
One Stringed Harp
Eve, The Apple Of My Eye
The Great Defector
Rocky Took A Lover
I'll See Your Heart & I'll Raise You Mine
No prizes for guessing what album they're pushing here. Even Paul admitted it, when he suggested that the audience "steal their second album from the internet, 'cos we'll never see it again." The setlist was symptomatic of the sad story that has become Bell X1. Cast adrift/purposefully split from their record label (depending on whose side of the story you believe), they probably won't see a penny from future sales of their first three albums. Pity, really, considering that the new album, Blue Lights On The Runway, is by far and away the weakest output from the threesome (Brian's gone to soundtrack pastures, kid).
Old fan favourites like Alphabet Soup and Snakes & Snakes were jettisoned in favour of musical masturbation outputs like Amelia and How Your Heart Is Wired, songs which could have easily had their length halved. Such is to be expected when the guiding hand of a record label isn't slapping your hands away from the keyboard. Having said that, the gig was small and intimate, which put a gloss on some of the worse songs. Not enough, though, to dispell the growing sense of dread within me that Bell X1 will never produce a better record than Music In Mouth, something from which they seem keen to distance themselves given their recent label troubles. Understandable, but sad all the same.
Oh, Duke Special supported too.
He was magnificent. 'Nuff said.