with Grand Ole Party
May 26, 2009
Chicago, IL – Aragon Theatre
Review by Natalie K.

Grand Ole Party, a three-piece band from San Diego, CA kicked things off for the sold out Aragon Theatre crowd Wednesday night. By the time Grand Ole Party hit the stage the theater was 3/4 full and the crowd was eager for live music to start. Most not well known opening bands are hard to remember after the headliner has performed, but Grand Ole Party is one band that is hard to forget. One reason for this is because lead singer Kristen Gundred whom not only has a soulful/older style voice but she is also the drummer; yes the full on drummer. Stationed in the front center of the stage her beats may be simplistic but she does an amazing job of pulling off two major positions in the band with such ease. John Paul Labno on guitar and Mike Krechnyak on bass more than make up for the simplistic drum beats by hashing out amazing riffs.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs came out around 8:45 hitting the stage to an overwhelming roar from the crowd. Lead singer Karen O never ceases to amaze with her creative sense of style. Decked out in a kimono paired with yellow and black tights Karen O looked electrically stunning. Touring in support of their latest album It’s Blitz!, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s combined their set list with older favorites too. With a giant rotating 3-D eyeball that resembles the one on It’s Blitz! album cover was their backdrop which was simple yet oh so Yeah Yeah Yeahs. No one seemed to notice the sweltering hot sticky air in the Aragon Ballroom and the crowd had one giant dance session, swaying and moving along to every upbeat tempo the Yeah Yeah Yeahs shelled out.

Kicking it off with “Runaway” set the tone for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs powerhouse set-list. They softened down “Maps” into an acoustic performance which the crowd seemed to dig, but I missed the rifts that start off the song. Stepping off stage for a bit to put on a black leather jacket, the crowd went wild knowing what song was next, the bands latest hit “Zero”. With a 2 part encore that consisted of “Heads Will Roll”, “Art Star”, and finally “Date With the Night” to close out a stellar performance.

Karen O has style and grace mixed with a gritty rock-star quality which few female musicians posses. Their sixteen song set still seemed too short and they left me yearning in anticipation of the next time they drop by to play Chicago.