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April 19, 2014

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Photos: Big Star USA party at 2013 MAGIC features Karen O and her Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Boulevard Pool

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Denise Truscello/WireImage/DeniseTruscello.net

Singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performs during the Big Star USA concert at Boulevard Pool in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.

2013 MAGIC: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Boulevard

Singer Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performs during the Big Star USA concert at Boulevard Pool in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.

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Taking the stage in a yellow bedazzled jumpsuit and sunglasses fit for the King, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O kicked off MAGIC fashion trade week in appropriate style at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ Boulevard Pool on Monday night.

The stylish band’s set was presented by denim and apparel line Big Star USA, and the pool was packed with a subdued but sartorially savvy fashion industry crowd rather than the band’s typical screaming fans.

Still, you don’t need to know the lyrics to every Yeah Yeah Yeahs song to appreciate their live show. While some old-school fans have ridiculed the art-punk outfit for taking on a more pop-heavy sound and style in recent years, they remain impossible to take your eyes off onstage.

Despite the muddy sound system — the guitar was all but impossible to hear up front — the crowd pressed ever closer to the stage as O unleashed her signature barrage of stage antics, spinning, arching her back, spitting various beverages onto the crowd and performing various sexual innuendos with the microphone.

Guitarist Nick Zinner remains compelling in his own right, slashing at his guitar and falling to his knees as he unleashed his signature hooks. The show lacked the big theatrical feel and energy of the band’s recent festival gigs — which, to be fair, came equipped with Broadway-tier costumes and a live choir — and instead replaced synth lines and backup choruses with flat canned recordings.

But a great show comes down to a great delivery, and even after a summer — and years, really — of heavy touring, the band still managed to make their well-known brand of showmanship feel fresh and exciting, switching up their tour setlist and throwing in a few old favorites like “Black Tongue” alongside their singles and tracks off their new record, “Mosquito.”

Hits like “Y Control” were left out of the mix — fans may have to trek to L.A.’s FYF Fest this weekend to see them play that one — but it’s to the trio’s credit that they make a point of performing how and what they want to (they’ve even asked fans to put their cameras and phones away during shows, a rule which the Cosmo crowd largely respected).

And for a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, that makes all the difference.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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