Yo La Tengo live

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The general opinion seems to be that YLT sucks live, because they're too busy doing wanky jams and experimental artless improvs. The band even seems to acknowledge this by putting up a hate mail in the liner notes for Painful. However, when I saw them last May, they put on an incredible set, probably the best show I've seen this summer (and I've seen quite a few). Their set was tight, and the jams didn't seem any more pointless than Sonic Youth at their best and I was very impressed as a whole. That's why I'm surprised at the negative feelings towards their live shows. Was the gig I went to an exception?

alex in montreal, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Not at all. Yes, Ira likes to diverge & go off on noisy tangents while James & Georgia keep on keepin' on, but it's not so gratuitous. (I'll take free-for-all freakouts over studied soloing any day of the year.) Plus, they're fun (witness their Piping to "You Can Have It All"). Plus, they pull covers out of their ass - some Who, some Kinks, and some punk song I've heard them play twice (James singing lead) that I just can't place.

David Raposa, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I don't expect it was an exception. I expect that if I'd seen it, I would have thought it was rubbish and annoying; and that if you'd seen the set I saw, you would have thought it was great. I'm sorry to be so 'polarizing' about this - you obviously have an admirable enthusiasm for pop music.

Sonic Youth 'at their best' - well, I've heard it said that SY were great last year. I saw them last year and it was maybe the worst gig I've ever seen - worse than YLT 2001. So I'm not sure that the SY comparison does YLT favours in my eyes (though I expect it will for others).

the pinefox, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i saw yo la tengo supporting stereolab june95 and they were superb (esp I Heard You Looking). but, this was a while ago, i have no idea what they are like live now, and their records since i saw them are nothing special, so i can believe they were dull at ATP, i can also believe they may have been good. hmm, i've not been very helpful here have i?

gareth, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

saw them last year at livid - apart from lou reed, they were the best thing all day, way ahead of the cure, green day, dandy warhols etc

Geoff, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've seen them many, many times and they've varied between mediocre and brilliant. I was at that Stereolab gig in 1995 and never having seen them before they blew me away. Subsequently the quality of their gigs has been in direct proportion to Ira's restraint. When he gets carried away with being the 'Jewish Jimi Hendrix' (please shoot whoever first described him as such, btw) they can wander into dodgy territory. But when he reins himself in they're one of the best live bands on the planet. Oh, and I thought Sonic Youth were dreadful at ATP2000 as well.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

re: ylt/stereolab, richard. which town?

gareth, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, they have altered their shows a bit since, say, Electr-O- Pura. Before that --- and even during that tour, to a certain extent --- they seemed to take a lot more pleasure in winding up their shows with deconstructive bits (hence the liner on Painful). But now they're more, you know, "mature."

Last time I saw them --- on their sit-down, chill-out tour for And Then Nothing. . . --- there was a palpable and sort of disappointing absence of noise. Ira played one of his incredible drunken-swerving solos for "Stockholm Syndrome," got the biggest crowd reaction of the night, and then . . . nothing. Obviously I don't mean to criticize, as the stated point of the tour was to concentrate on the other side of their sound, but . . . it was just odd to watch a guitar player deliberately holding back the abilities that would impress listeners most obviously. I suppose that's pretty admirable, when you think about it . . .

Nitsuh, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Seen them twice, both times years ago and both times opening up for bands that wiped the floor with them with their main sets (but considering one of those bands was My Bloody Valentine, how do you expect me to feel?). While I can't speak for recent years in concert, the group has always been something of a bete noire for me, only recently changed slightly by the _And Nothing_ album. Both shows I saw they did one very good song which I enjoyed, the rest was timekilling nonsense for people who think that guitars always trump synths. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

London, with Quickspace and Sebadoh. I assumed that was the one you were talking about, but it's just occurred to me that you probably weren't living in London then.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i've been lurking here for a while, though this is the first time i've managed to check in and contribute to a thread usefully. so: ylt have long been one my absolute faves, and i've tried to see 'em at least once a year. their shows have changed a lot in recent times, tho: they've always experimented and done lotsa jams that, in other's hands, would've come across as self-serving and well, evil... but they manage to pull it off.

the big difference lately has been where the jams come in: the songs used to start normally and then deconstruct into a jam; now, the jams start as a lot of unrelated noodeling that (eventually) coheres into a song. it can be rewarding to listen to, but takes a lot of patience -- and they don't always pull it off.

bucky wunderlick, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

It really depends on the night, the show, the ambience, the phases of the moon, the alignment of the planets, etc. etc. etc.

For some reason, I always have a better time at YLT if I'm sitting down. Having seen them in the two theatres at the Royal Festival Hall, (one time with Sonic Boom along for the ride...) I thought they were one of the best bands I'd ever seen in my life- adventurous, chaotic, spontaneous, yet tightly controlled and disciplined. Amazing shows.

And then I saw then a few months ago, at an overcrowded, poorly sounded show in Shepherds Bush, and I thought they were one of the worst bands I'd ever seen in my life, their solos interminable and their free jazz intolerable.

So, it really can vary, depending on both the band, and the state in which you see them (mentally, not as in US)

Sonic Youth at ATP2000 has gone down in the dictionary as The Worst Show Ever Performed By A Rock Band. No, really, look it up, there's a little picture of Kim and her trumpet.

masonic boom, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I - hooray! - agree with the latter parts of what Masonic Boom says.

I'm afraid I can't live with Nitsuh's ref to 'abilities'. My feeling was, here's an average rock guitar player - come to think of it, a BAD rock guitar player, by the standards of most professional-type axe-workers - and he's going to prove it ad nauseam.

the pinefox, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, I know you're trying to agree with me, PF, but I have to add that I'm actually a really big fan of YLT's recorded output. So I'm quite willing to forgive them a few live clunkers.

masonic boom, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yo La Tengo is the best live band in the world I know of. I saw them only three times but each time they kicked ass. Ira treats his guitar like Jimi Hendrix. When he is on form it looks like he is having sex with his guitar. And Georgia's drumming is subtle but she never shows off. James is a star on bass or keyboards. They are all multi instrumentalists which is quite rare nowadays. And they have so many good songs which they also play live. I think now they must have more classics than VU. The second last concert I saw was a little less good as it was the tour to "And then Nothing Turned Itself...". The album tracks were too quiet, they work better on record than live.

alex in mainhattan, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I forgot Sonic Youth. I thought they were the best live band before I saw YLT. I saw SY in 1992 at the Lorelei festival at the Rhine in Germany. They were amazing. I did not know any of their songs (I happened to own only Dirty which had just been released) but I loved it. Thurston Moore on guitar was incredible. Sorry about my non exact language, it must be my limited knowledge of English. There was also New Order at that festival and they finished it and they were so shite. Not a band but puppets dancing to synthie rhythms, never again.

alex in mainhattan, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Bah on having sex with a guitar. People should play by mind control and never touch the actual instrument.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ira did that? I was at the 'Heart Beating as One' show a few years back and found them practically falling asleep.

Jason, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm with Ned on this one. I prefer guitarists who sound as if they're tearing their guitars to shreds, with their bare hands, slowly.

Dave M., Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

the entire concept of yo la tengo is a bad idea. their recorded output is dull beyond belief and live they have the collective charisma of peas. ira does wank all over the stage, yes, problem is he has obviously been well-schooled in the neil young school of crap guitarists and never thrills just dribbles. but still they come nowhere near sonic youth's uselessness.

keith, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

hey bucky - welcome to the show.

Geoff, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I rather like Yo La Tengo but I've never gotten to see them live. I think keith just made me cry.

Josh, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

@Ned: Sorry but I cannot agree. Mind control is ok when playing in the studio and producing an album. But a live show is different. Actually there are so many bands which are amazing on record but only a poor imitation on stage. They just reproduce the records. The most striking example is My Bloody Valentine. I absolutely agree they were probably the most influential band of the 90s. But live they were crap. And when listening to their records now I even ask myself what was so special about them. Probably they have influeneced so many others that their sound is not anything special anymore today.

When I go to a concert I want more than there is on the record. I want that the band play a set just for me, something unique, which will never be reproduced. That is also the reason why I love improvisations. And YLT and SY do exactly that. They make me feel that I am part of the show. They make human music, MBV does not. And live shows are not about perfection. Especially the imperfect bits, the false tones, the unplanned things make the charm of a live show.

@Josh: You should go and see them. You have missed something.

alex in mainhattan, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, it hasn't really been in my control due to where I live. Maybe if they make an album in the next 5 years and tour for it...

Josh, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Good songs / classics? Bah. They didn't play any when I saw them. The poverty of the songs was the greatest weakness of the whole set.

Keithkey is spot-on. And comparing that YLT geezer to Hendrix seems to me a serious critical misjudgement - like comparing, um, Simon Armitage to Wyndham Lewis or something. No, worse than that.

the pinefox, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The funny thing is, in some interviews I've read, Ira is quite forthcoming about the technical crapness of his guitar soloing technique. (It's not the POINT.)

Josh, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Who are you pinefox character? You are only provoking people. You seem to know nothing about indie music (you pretended neither to know Modest Mouse nor Momus who had started the recent thread on Weltanschauung). So go on insulting, it is kind of funny, you are like a cartoon character. You never like anything so what do you do in the forum I love music?

To the others: try for loads of Yo La Tengo live songs. Blue Line Swinger is a classic for example. I like the version at St. Louis which is stretched to ten minutes. The song evolves very slowly. Almost like Low's cover of Joy Division's Transmission (one of the few covers which can compete with the original). I must admit I did not have the time to listen to all these mp3's. Anyways next time they are around and they love Germany and Germany loves them I will go to see them.

alex in mainhattan, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry it is really difficult to post a link. I try again. Loads of live YLT mp3's are here

alex in mainhattan, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i believe the pinefox rather likes the sundays and lloyd cole. rumours that he is a fan of dj wankchops are, however, still uncomfirmed...

gareth, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"collective charisma of peas": but peas ONLY hve collective charisma — this is surely the point of them. I had an acquaintance once who would describe his favourite meal as "A pie, a chip and a pea… " This is funny because of the gap between what you imagine him eating, and what he actually was eating (= pie, chips and peas).

Sonic Youth played the single most amazing live show I have ever seen , at the ICA in 1983 or 1984. The three or four times I have seen them since they have been boring: I realise I have been buying records and liking them purely in expectation of having a repeat experience delivered. Nothing suggests to me that this *cannot* occur: but it *may* not. I have next to no opinion abt Yo La Tengo either way.

mark s, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Who are you mainhattan character? You are only, how you say, stimulating people. You seem to know so much about the music pop (you know Jacob's Mouse also Falco, yes rock me, amadeus, oh. I wish to know your Weltanschauung, is good, yes. Your cartoon bonfire it tease me). So go on writing, it kind of funny is, you are like is a movie star from years 20. You like anything so is good you in the forum I love music yes.

the pinefox, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Oh dear, here we go.

To Alex in all seriousness -- well, again, a matter of perception here. Were you fortunate enough to attend, you might have found the YLT set opening for MBV involved and interesting, but as mentioned for me aside from the one song it was crudulous (I vaguely remember Ira starting on stage flailing all around on his guitar and trying to 'rock out,' I guess -- it looked stupid and I wasn't impressed). MBV, for my money, had enough get-into-it live energy to easily carry the performance -- Deb Googe was always the most active of the bunch, unquestionably, but on things like the 35-minute (yes!) version of the "You Made Me Realize" midsong jam that I saw at the second show everybody seemed possessed by the music and performance. To be sure, Kevin and Bilinda were mostly concentrating on what they were playing and getting it across -- but the music itself was so enveloping, it was insane. The first time I saw them that year, the overcrowded, packed club audience were constantly swaying back and forth, unsteady, a queasy slow-motion pit while the band blasted away. Who needed acrobatics on the stage itself at that point?

As for Sonic Youth's alleged improv skills -- hm. The one time I saw them back in 1999, it was just after the equipment theft, so I allowed for the fact that it was a greatest hits set of a sort and fairly conservative all around, played on borrowed equipment and generally not being much different from what was on record (they did at least do my all time favorite SY song "Mote," though, so I was very pleased). Great was my surprise when I learned from a friend who had been at both that show and the SF show just before the instrument theft that they had played *the same exact set*. I had been resolutely unconvinced by them over time, and that just made it all the worse.

And don't knock the Pinefox -- like it or not, Alex, there *are* people with different opinions from yourself who will hold to that opinion just as strongly as you do yours. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Who are you mainhattan character? You are only, how you say, stimulating people. You seem to know so much about the music pop (you know Jacob's Mouse also Falco, yes rock me, amadeus, oh. I wish to know your Weltanschauung, is good, yes. Your cartoon bonfire it tease me). So go on writing, it kind of funny is, you are like is a movie star from years 20. You like anything so is good you in the forum I love music yes.

Wait -- so for a comeback, you're making fun of the fact that he's from Germany? That crosses the line, IMHO, especially inasmuch as his English is just fine; I suspect you wouldn't do that with someone from Japan, or Ghana, or so on. Attack his arguments, if you like, but not his ethnicity.

As for Yo La Tengo, surprisingly, I know very little of their recorded output. However, when I saw them live in May 1998 (my band, among others, opened for them), I enjoyed it quite a bit. Talkative college students ruined all the quiet songs (which were very good otherwise), and the loud songs were fun -- Ira was tossing his guitar everywhere, squalling and howling. It was a good time.

Phil, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ah... perhaps we should compare YLT live with Mogwai, or Godspeed or Sigur Rios or Built To Spill or [noise-art band] live rather than always using Sonic Youth? Might make for another level of discussion.

To the previous question:

I found YLT to be quite enjoyable live. A very professional, tight band who know when to let go and when to come back in.

I missed them at the Town Hall shows here in town tho, and have never been to a sit-down show with them. I'm sure it's on par with Kronos or going to hear chamber music.

JM, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The most recent YLT stuff I heard made me think of Low. Which was a worthy enough approach...

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I think that's the first nice thing I've ever seen you say about YLT, Ned. ;)

Josh, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Funniest post ever, Pinefox!

Dr. C, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The most recent YLT stuff I heard made me think of Low.

which is why the sonic youth comparisons mystify me, unless we're only talking about the last two sy geffen albums, and even that's doubtful. maybe i haven't heard the right ylt but what i heard just sounded like another, albeit better-than-average, music-for-old- people indie-mumble band. i don't see a "death valley '69" coming out of that bunch anytime soon.

i didn't think sy were especially known for their improvisations live. most of what's on the records sounds pretty through-composed to me. obviously they stretch out some songs but they were never a postpunk dead afaik. too bad to hear they were in poor form at atp last year. i saw them last summer in montreal and they were good, though the show was short. they even opened with a searing version of "burning spear" and did stellar versions of "schizophrenia" and "kool thing," closing with an extended "nyc g&f." their workout through their whole back catalogue did make me appreciate that i like some parts of it a lot more than others.

sundar subramanian, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'll allow for honest reactions, Josh. ;-) But I'll lay money on the next album pissing me off again. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

@Ned: I guess we have different approaches to music. To put it short: mine is intuitive and yours is rational. On the other hand maybe MBV had a bad day when they played in Brussels ten years ago and maybe YLT had two bad days when you saw them opening for those "big" names.

@Pinefox: Nice reply. I could not stop laughing (I am dead serious). But how about: Who are you mainhattan characters? They are only, like you say and with energy supply people. They seem, in the music bang so much, versed to be (you know mouse also Falco Jacob, swing me, amadeus, OH - . I would like to know well-being their world opinion in the morning. It neckt Karikaturbonfire it I). If you go into such a way on writing, it, type of merry, is you is, like film star of years 20. Therefore they like, everything are good you in the love music of the forum I. Now it makes sense. Thanks to Babelfish. So you like Lloyd Cole? Mmm. Me too. But could it be that you have taken the title of his last album too literal? Don't get weird on me pinefox.

@Phil: No. My English is crap and was even worse in that post above. And you are exaggerating. Pinefox cracked a joke. I do not think that this is enough to start a war. And I guess our ethnicity is the same (I am Indo-European). But thanks anyway.

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mine is *rational*? No offense, Alex, but I'll kindly ask you not to presume what my own thoughts and reactions to music are and what they're motivated by. I'm not presuming what *yours* are. Sheesh!

My first experience to MBV, as I've gone on about elsewhere (time and again!) on this board, was pure shock and stunned trance at how wonderful it was, hearing "Soon" for the very first time. That had about as much to do with rationality as throwing myself off a cliff because I might bounce.

I have no problem with you arguing your case and all, but junk your attempts at artistic psychoanalysis. If you can't accept the fact I disagree, that's your problem and not mine.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I did not want to offend you Ned, but a couple of posts up the thread you wrote: People should play by mind control and never touch the actual instrument. and you were answering to my post on Ira having sex with his guitar. I do not believe that you want to tell me that your concept of mind control is emotional and intuitive.

On the other hand when I read your last post I am flabbergasted by your sensitivity.

I accept that and I do not want to go any deeper (only a little bit). I just wanted to understand why our judgements differ. Especially as we start from practically the same point. When I saw MBV ten years ago they were my favourite group. Loveless was the most hypnotic album of the 90s. A song like When you sleep is absolutely stunning and still today. The concert left me totally cold. No interaction between the band and the public whatsoever. Except some stage-divers. When I went to see YLT the first time I did not expect a lot. And Ira talked to us and reacted when people asked for songs. And he was playing guitar like a devil (sorry another stereotype). Totally involved into his music. He was on a trip and he took us with him. I left the concert as a convert to YLT. When comparing those two bands to drugs I would say MBV is about taking LSD, a lonely but very strong experience. But YLT is about sharing a joint. It is a social thing and it is a soft and quite feeble high which lasts.

So maybe we have different preferences concerning those substances.

alex in mainhattan, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Alex - a generous response to Pinefox's (in hindsight) slightly offensive post, which I thoughtlessly supported. I shouldn't have. Sorry.

Dr. C, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

This is starting to get in the realms of the ridiculous, Alex. For one thing I've never taken (illegal, at least) drugs either, so please stop while you're ahead about assuming what I'm all about. You've now failed on two counts -- and again, I've made no assumptions about * your* favorite drug/reading material/sexual activity/late night snack/ whatever, so quite why you think your own assumptions about me are possibly the key to all this mystifies me. Can you not accept the idea of difference of opinion?

For another thing, this 'really getting into it, man = emotion; concentrating on playing = technical, unemotional' vision -- I absolutely refuse this limiting, ridiculous stereotype. Some of the most calculated bullshit I've ever encountered at shows has been from the most active people on-stage, some of the freest, most evocative and emotional playing from the most calm and controlled performers. Roy Montgomery in particular, with two extended improvisatory pieces at Terrastock 2, showed that much, all while sitting down, but he had that crowd -- and a large one it was -- on as much of a trip as Ira did for yours. *And* Mr. Montgomery was engaging in a bit of audience banter too if that makes you happy.

I am not trying to set up an opposing set of rules to yours, Alex, but I am trying to demonstrate that your own vision is not automatically the mirror image of mine. Is this so hard to understand?

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Alex -- point taken; if you're not offended, I'm certainly not going to presume to be on your behalf! ;-)

(But I still maintain, however, that your English is not crap. Es ist ganz besser als mein Deutsch...)

Phil, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Just wanted to say that this discussion is worthless since YLT are a bunch of Lou Reed fans. They should be put up against a wall and shot.

On the subject of YLT live- I remember Alec Empire interview in NME where he talked about seeing YLT live and how they were scared to go on because the stage was covered in water and so they might get fried! Onstage!

And alec then called them a bunch of assholes- he would love to be there himself, he'd relish that kind of situation- and he proceeded to tell the the kids to stop buying all of this indie garbage.

Julio Desouza, Monday, 16 July 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

four years pass...
They're doing their 8-night Hanukkah charity stand at Maxwells again, but it appears 3 of the shows are sold out... I lucked out with the surprise guests the last two years: Ronnie Spector and Wreckless Eric.

http://www.yolatengo.com/schedule.html


'Fun' reading above.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 December 2005 22:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I saw them about a year ago, and it was one of the biggest letdowns of the year.

I suppose I'm only really familiar with "And the nothing...", "I Can Hear the Heart...", "Summer Sun", and "Painful", since those are the only ones I own. Oh, and their first album, which I've listened to 1/2 a time.

But I only recognized about 5 of the songs they played, total. I assume the rest were covers, obscure b-sides...who knows. When things couldn't get any worse, they ended with their "Nuclear War" cover, which lasted about 15 minutes and wasn't very impressive. Then, when they finished, a fall-over-drunk woman yelled out, "HAY!!1 Play it...aGEE-YEN!"

And they did. They played another 15 minute long version of Nuclear War, which was just as disappointing as the first. Then, they were done.

Plus, it looked like Ira and Georgia were in the middle of a messy divorce the whole show.

Zach S, Friday, 2 December 2005 02:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I was at both 3-11-2000 shows, matinee and late, at the GAMH in San Francisco — and they were fantastic. But they were supporting an album I liked a lot, and Lambchop was the support, so the circumstances were all good. But then I saw them last year in Memphis and they kinda sucked. Antietam opened and were boring, and it was summer and 912 degrees, YLT was supporting an album I don't like at all, and like Zach said, their "Nuclear War" goes on forfuckingever.

I do feel guilty for getting any perverse amusement out of it (Rock Hardy), Friday, 2 December 2005 02:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i still count the first couple times i saw them (at the late, not very lamented LA club the Alligator Lounge) as among the best shows i've ever attended. that was back in 95, when they were supporting electra pura. they sounded pretty mind blowing to me and my other 16 year old friends. since then, i've seen them a bunch and have enjoyed each show, but these days they may be trying to squeeze a bit too much into a set--leaping haphazardly from goofy covers to noise freakouts to whispery ballads to epic jams. i like all of that, but the last time i saw them, i wished they'd just stick with one or two of those styles...

Tyler Wilcox (tylerw), Friday, 2 December 2005 03:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Anyone else ever interview them? Because in my experience said grumpiness extends beyond the stage.

a couple of times, and always found them to be fine. i even asked ira about his time as a music journalist, and he didn't bite my head off, like i expected him to.

That symptom is fucking my wife (stevie), Monday, 10 December 2012 23:25 (four years ago) Permalink

He's never been a total dick, just sort of watching the clock with extreme prejudice. Probably doesn't help that there's not much generally worth asking them about beyond the music they like to listen to in their spare time. My experiences with them have been fine, honestly, but the farthest thing from engaging.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 10 December 2012 23:33 (four years ago) Permalink

> Anyone else ever interview them? Because in my experience said grumpiness extends beyond the stage.

Interviewed Ira in college around May I Sing with Me. He totally put me in my place. To his credit, he was right -- I was just asking regurgitated questions from other interviews.

A couple years earlier, they did sign my copy of Ride the Tiger ~`1990 and were super super cool about it, though. I need to track down Dave Schramm and have him sign that, too.

john. a resident of chicago., Tuesday, 11 December 2012 04:09 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah, they *are a hard sell, features-wise. every time they release a new album, i want to write about them, but how to pitch it? "Sterling, dependable indie-rock perennials release another good album" is hardly going to make commissioning editors quiver with anticipation.

That symptom is fucking my wife (stevie), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:13 (four years ago) Permalink

The first time I ever heard their music was when they were opening for Teenage Fanclub on a US tour in 1993. That being the Painful era, the unexpected trifecta of From a Motel 6, Big Day Coming & I Heard You Looking just seemed like the best shit ever. That was a fantastic double-bill, actually.

rocky dennis horror show (Pillbox), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 09:24 (four years ago) Permalink

looks like an amazing night last night [from here: http://www.jessejarnow.com/2012/12/yo-la-tengo-hanukkah-2012-night-3-setlist/]
The Feelies:
Deep Fascination
For Now
Invitation
For Awhile
On the Roof
Let’s Go
Higher Ground
The Final Word
Slipping (Into Something)
Away
Way Down
When You Know
Doin’ It Again
Time Is Right
Raised Eyebrows
Crazy Rhythms

Yo La Tengo:
Paul Is Dead
Time Fades Away (Neil Young) (with Glenn Mercer of the Feelies on guitar)
Barnaby, Hardly Working (with GM)
Tears Are In Your Eyes
Something To Do
The Point of It
Tom Courtenay (Georgia version)
Tired Hippo (with Dave Weckerman and Stan Demeski of the Feelies on percussion)
The Room Got Heavy (with DW & SD)
False Alarm (with DW & SD)
The Story of Jazz (with DW & SD)
Double Dare (with DW & SD)
Little Honda (The Hondells)

*(encore)*
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan) (with The Feelies’ Bill Million on guitar & Brenda Sauter on vocals)
Sister Ray (Velvet Underground) (with GM & BM)

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 18:35 (four years ago) Permalink

and nyc taper is posting recordings -- http://www.nyctaper.com/ first two nights are up now.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 18:36 (four years ago) Permalink

The first time I saw them I had a heavy cold, sweats, shivering - and I probably wouldn't have gone if it wasn't just a five minute walk away from where I lived at the time. It was a beautiful experience and my physical condition made it more so - it was a loving cuddle that I really damn needed.

kraudive, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 18:57 (four years ago) Permalink

I have a snapshot of me and Ira tucked in the sleeve of my copy of "Painful," taken when they did an acoustic show at my school. Ira wrote on a the back: "A secret message: TUO PORD."

One of the best shows I ever saw was Eleventh Dream Day at Lounge Axe in ... '94? With Ira as second guitarist. Pure guitar bliss.

Misread the setlist right above as featuring Neil Young, rather than covering Neil Young. But you never know! They got Ray Davies, after all. And the blurry picture on the "Painful" jacket is the plate of leftover fries Neil Young didn't finish when Ira interviewed him for Spin way back when.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:09 (four years ago) Permalink

haha, is that right? i don't think i knew that. neil would probably enjoy jamming with ylt. i wonder when the last time was that he played a place the size of maxwell's.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:12 (four years ago) Permalink

anyone read Jarnow's book?

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:15 (four years ago) Permalink

The centre of the New Jersey trio Yo La Tengo's 1993 album, Painful, features a blurred polaroid of a plate of French fries. Neil Young's French fries. Yo La Tengo's guitarist Ira Kaplan, a moon-faced thirtysomething once described as "the Jewish Jimi Hendrix", had lunched with the grandfather of grunge in a New York restaurant and asked the waitress to wrap his leftover sandwich. Young's uneaten fries were accidentally wrapped with it, and were soon back in the apartment Kaplan shares with his wife Georgia Hubley, Yo La Tengo's drummer, co-vocalist and the daughter of John Hubley, the creator of the cartoon character Mr Magoo. At first they attempted to preserve the historic fries, dating as they did from the week of Young's acclaimed MTV unplugged performance. "Initially, we refrigerated them but, hey, cooked potatoes have a half-life," Kaplan explains. "We thought about varnishing, but eventually we decided on photodocumentation." Lucky. The inherent weirdness of the daughter of the creator of Mr Magoo varnishing Neil Young's French fries for future generations doesn't bear contemplation.

Found this somewhere just now, though I don't remember how I knew about the fries. What's weird about this is how much it misses to mention the importance of Georgia's mom, or her dad's awesome feud with Walt Disney.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:17 (four years ago) Permalink

xp yeah, i did. i liked it a lot -- it loses a little bit once the band falls into the standard album-tour-album-tour rhythm at the end, but the early stuff is really well done. the peripheral info about maxwell's / wfmu / etc is interesting as well.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:18 (four years ago) Permalink

i don't think i've read kaplan's interview with neil -- is it online?

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:21 (four years ago) Permalink

Kaplan, Ira. "Interview." Spin. Vol. 8, No. 12. March 1993.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:24 (four years ago) Permalink

Page 57.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:31 (four years ago) Permalink

nice! thx

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 December 2012 19:48 (four years ago) Permalink

Real Estate tonight. By far my very favorite newer band. Would have liked to be there and see those guys all jam together. The lead singer told me Yo La Tengo is his biggest influence so this must be really special for them.

Evan, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 03:12 (four years ago) Permalink

sweet f'n jesus:

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 19:29 (four years ago) Permalink

sick! love that bill million is so ocd that even on sister ray he keeps his rhythm part totally together.

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 19:37 (four years ago) Permalink

totally. An anchor amongst the chaos.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 19:43 (four years ago) Permalink

I, uh, ... that didn't seem that chaotic. I guess I'm just burned out on the band.

WilliamC, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 19:58 (four years ago) Permalink

A poor choice of wording on my part. It's more unpracticed than chaotic. But Bill is dead certain to make every change at the appropriate time while the rest do their best to just keep chugging at whatever speed they can. He keeps it from being too sloppy.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:06 (four years ago) Permalink

False Alarm (with DW & SD)

want to hear this so bad

jarnow book only recommended if not having read the only yo la tengo book out there is gonna nag at you. some annoying errors, not a lot of insight, but you definitely get a sense of context for the early years

da croupier, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:13 (four years ago) Permalink

yeahhh, was hoping an nyc taper recording would be forthcoming of the feelie la tengo jamz. those dudes are slacking!

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:21 (four years ago) Permalink

The book is best for examining the early NJ/NYC indie rock scene; YLT is really the frame around most of that discussion.

Maria Tesla Pizzeria, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:27 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah i almost wish it was more of an our band could be your life book with chapters on the bongos, and the dbs and shit. ylt were such passive participants, and there was so little insight into the personalities or their music (it's referenced how little ira knew about guitar at first, but we never get a real sense of when/how became mr wall of pedals) that would have been better to just be like "and then they lived matadorly ever after"

da croupier, Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:32 (four years ago) Permalink

contrary to earlier rumors, it was El-P and John Oliver tonight.

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 13 December 2012 06:58 (four years ago) Permalink

didnt recognize many of the covers (of which there weren't a lot) aside from "I Can Hear Music"

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:33 (four years ago) Permalink

https://soundcloud.com/nyctaper/19-sister-ray-vu

tylerw, Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:35 (four years ago) Permalink

last time i saw yo la tengo it was "no smoking by request of the artist," fuck them. had bought tickets in advance too.

adam, Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:53 (four years ago) Permalink

Hmmm, I used to smoke, but this bothers me not at all any more. Can't you go outside and smoke, or take a break from smoking for an hour? Not that I don't smoke, I can totally understand why non-smokers cannot stand to play in a room full of smoke. Seems more like something the venue needs to be up front about, not the musicians.

grandavis, Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:56 (four years ago) Permalink

Uh, that was supposed to say "Now that I don't smoke"

grandavis, Thursday, 13 December 2012 18:56 (four years ago) Permalink

it's been so long since i've lived in a state where you can smoke in a club.

tylerw, Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:04 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, me too. But also, at this point, if I like the musician, I am fully on board with making touring/playing shows as cool for them as possible, especially if they are not millionaires and are still out there fighting the good fight. The cards are mostly stacked against them.

grandavis, Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't want to breathe someone's cigarette smoke and I don't want my clothes to smell of smoke either. I was so glad when my area jurisdictions banned smoking in nightclubs.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:36 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I can't believe I used to smell like that all the time. And that I smoked inside, all the time (though not my own apartment/house). In restaurants, and venues, and bars. Seems really stupid in retrospect.

grandavis, Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:39 (four years ago) Permalink

that's cool, if i cared about that kind of shit i would move somewhere like that. however the expectation here is that if one is paying out the ass to see a bunch of old dudes play sister ray for 90 minutes one gets to drink and smoke and talk to one's friends while one does it, not stand outside like an asshole.

adam, Thursday, 13 December 2012 20:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Hah, sounds like exactly the wrong way to see Yo La Tengo do their thing to me. I mean, they play a ton of quiet songs, but more power to you. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good show. I don't really have sympathy for the "I paid money damn it, so I get to do what the fuck I want" argument though. Again, I think your complaint is with the venue. Make them post when shows are non-smoking.

grandavis, Thursday, 13 December 2012 20:13 (four years ago) Permalink

Norman Blake tonight. Sorry speculative folks hoping for Keith Richards (not in this thread)!

Evan, Sunday, 16 December 2012 01:16 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Has anyone seen the shows they're doing with Amber Tamblyn to promote her book? It's coming to town and I'm wondering if it's worth going to. (Only about 45 minutes of performance, but for $10 that may be OK)

Actress and author Amber Tamblyn and iconic alternative rock band Yo La Tengo will be presenting a very special musical and lyrical hybrid showcase for the book release party in support of Tamblyn’s third book of poetry, DARK SPARKLER, a haunting collection that explores the lives and deaths of more than 25 actresses who died tragically and before their time. The 45-minute show will be a journey intertwining verse and music to tell the emotionally charged stories of these deceased women, some of whom are buried inside The Hollywood Forever Cemetery, as well as Tamblyn’s own dark revelations in researching them over the course of six years.

nickn, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 06:40 (two years ago) Permalink

While I liked the conversation overall, I was really, really unimpressed by the poetry she read on Marc Maron's podcast, so that part doesn't sound appealing to me at all. On the other hand, Yo La Tengo! I might go for 10 bucks.

ƋППṍӮɨ∏ğڵșěᶉᶇдM℮ (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 8 April 2015 15:08 (two years ago) Permalink

Ah well, sold out now. Maybe I'll look for it on youtube.

nickn, Monday, 13 April 2015 06:20 (two years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

suggest you nab this yo la lambchop set from big ears 2016 while you can! http://sweetblahg.tumblr.com/post/142334976673/yo-la-lambchop-2016-big-ears-festival

tylerw, Friday, 8 April 2016 19:07 (one year ago) Permalink

I thought the revive might be about their Jersey City performance this weekend, which I'll be working! I don't know what I'll be doing yet, though. My help is needed for something.

Evan, Friday, 8 April 2016 19:18 (one year ago) Permalink

security muscle? ylt fans are known to be violent.

tylerw, Friday, 8 April 2016 19:20 (one year ago) Permalink

I could probably take ylt fans, but I definitely am not built to take any other kind of fan.

Evan, Friday, 8 April 2016 19:21 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

free in Central Park on July 17

http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/event/yo-la-tengo-ultimate-painting/

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 17:28 (six days ago) Permalink


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