Yeah Yeah Yeahs declare war on smartphones at concerts

When it comes to smartphones at their concerts, Karen O & Co. become the No No Nos.
(Alexandre Meneghini / Associated Press)

They are a pestilence upon seasoned concertgoers, the scourge of fans trying to watch an actual performance, and a soul-withering symptom of today’s technology-mad world.

They are the People Who Spend Entire Concerts Watching the Band Through Smartphone Screens, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have had enough of them.

According to Spin, at the art-punk trio’s recent headlining show at New York City’s Webster Hall, the band put any potential amateur Errol Morrises on notice with a large sign reading -- in slightly bawdier language -- “PLEASE DO NOT WATCH THE SHOW THROUGH A SCREEN ON YOUR SMART DEVICE/CAMERA. PUT THAT ... AWAY as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian. MUCH LOVE AND MANY THANKS! YEAH YEAH YEAHS.”

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Apparently, singer Karen O also took a lesson from comedian Aziz Ansari, who famously gives the first minutes of his performances over to fans taking pictures of him, then shuts that down for the remainder. She let the shutterbugs scratch their itch for a take of “Gold Lion,” then insisted fans pocket their gadgetry for the night.


We heartily applaud the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ efforts to rid the live-music world of this dispiriting practice. It makes concert-going a bummer for the musicians (instead of playing for an engaged crowd, they’re playing to a sea of videographers), for other fans who can’t see the act for all the lofted iPhones, and even for the poor saps who are wasting their ticket money so they can have a shaky, unfocused and sound-clotted clip of “Maps” to relive on Vine later.

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When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs take the stage at Coachella this weekend, be sure to hold a beer, a flag of your home country or your significant other’s hand -- just not your phone, for God’s sake. Live a little, kids.


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