Best Upstaging the Headliner

The Ssion

Hype is a smarmy bastard. If it rears its head often enough, some people might even believe it. But those expecting Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to live up to the hyperventilating descriptions of her as the New York doll and new patron saint of women in rock may have been surprised when she vamped into The Granada on April 6 as Karen (oh!) but left looking more like Karen (shrug) when opening act and local yokels the Ssion put in a frantic performance that would have made the most jittery speed freaks look sedated. Granted, the Kansas City trio's music is canned to allow for maximum freak-out flexibility onstage, and the crowd seemed a tad stupefied by the sensory clusterfuck the Ssion plopped in its lap. But what the threesome lacked in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' understated magnetism, they more than made up for with feverish enthusiasm and wild showmanship that left us wondering Karen (wh)O?

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