Many bands have rocked the parking lot of Hotel Congress--reserved for a maximum of a dozen shows a year, according to an easement between the hotel and the city, for special events deemed too large for the Club Congo's (recently expanded) stage--but it wasn't until New York City's Yeah Yeah Yeahs played on March 9 that police slapped the downtown hotel with a red tag for hosting an unruly gathering. The hotel was served with a noise complaint by the Men in Blue about 10:30 p.m., but received no formal warning that the dreaded crimson rectangle was next on the agenda. But next it was, about an hour later. One comment overheard in the Tap Room afterward summed it up: Man, we live in a town full of pussies!
Before the outdoor show wrapped just before 11:30 p.m., the Yeah Yeah Yeahs disturbed the peace with their trademark angular grooves, veering from post-punk to pseudo-funk in the bat of a lash.
Sultry lead singer Karen O--decked out in an electric blue, sequined, curve-hugging dress--was the strutting embodiment of female sexual energy as she belted out numbers mostly from the band's 2003 LP, Fever to Tell, forgoing the bulk of songs from their two previous EPs.
The all-ages crowd licked it all up, especially the adoring gang of teenaged chicklets--pre-21-ers were in the majority--who braved the front row despite an ongoing crushing wave and the occasional asshole who was dragged out of the crowd by no-nonsense bouncers. So it was certainly no surprise that the loudest cheers came for "Maps," the atypical weeper currently in heavy MTV rotation. (It's that one song with guitars in between all the hip-hop vids.)
The gathered masses, about 1,000 strong, were ready for more, but the cops made sure there was no encore. Hotel manager David Slutes sounded a little like a hostage negotiator when he took the stage following the show to assure everyone that everything was "cool," but that the show was definitely over. Woo-hoo! Long live rock 'n roll!