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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

re: ylt/stereolab, richard. which town?

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

hey bucky - welcome to the show.

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

Funniest post ever, Pinefox!

Dr. C, Sunday, 15 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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.


'Fun' reading above.

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

as was usually the case when these things were announced in years past, i'm wondering if this should be the year I fly out ...

tylerw, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:29 (one year ago) Permalink

Free YLT show in LA on Aug 12 (I think). Burton Chase park in Marina Del Rey.

nickn, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 19:11 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Did you go 1st night?

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 15:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

setlist via http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ... looks amazing.

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
12 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 1)*

Todd Barry, Bob Odenkirk, and Miriam & Nobody’s Babies opened
mix disc by Mike Watt

whole set with Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Zeena Parkins (harp), entering during “Before We Run” outro jam.

Back in the New York Groove (KISS) (sung “Back With the New York Jews”)
Before We Run >
From A Motel 6
Walking Away From You
Last Days of Disco
The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell)
Moby Octopad
Artificial Heart
Tom Courtenay
I Heard You Looking

So Easy Baby (The Zantees) (with Miriam Linna on percussion/vocals & Bruce Bennett on guitar/vocals)
Cruel To Be Kind (with Nick Lowe on guitar/vocals)
Baby, It’s You (Burt Bacharach/Luther Dixon/Mack David) (with NL)
Here Comes the Night (Bert Berns) (with NL)
Shake That Rat (Nick Lowe) (NL on bass)
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding? (Nick Lowe) (with NL)

tylerw, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 15:07 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Saw a pic on Instagram of Nick Lowe onstage with them

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 17:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Apparently there was a heckler during the Todd Barry set and then a commotion in the balcony later on (where the heckler was). Anyone have any details on that? I also heard that per the band's request there will be no open/public taping and sharing of these sets, but they may circulate privately.

Badmotorfinger Debate Club (MFB), Wednesday, 13 December 2017 19:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

seems like there's been a bit of a falling out w/ YLT and the taping community ... but yeah, these shows will probably circulate on the down low.

tylerw, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 20:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I saw Todd Barry open for them at a Maxwell's Hanukkah show, probably 15 years ago.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 22:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink

going Thursday.
Haven't seen YLT proper since 2005 when I caught them on the Columbia quad.
Saw Georgia and Ira play a Velvet Underground cover with Lee Ranaldo and Steve Gunn last January, and have seen James in Oneida a handful of times in the last two years.

I figured NYCtaper would have all these gigs on lock

jrussohwell, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 23:10 (eleven months ago) Permalink

2nd show:

opening: Los Straitjackets (saw em 4 months ago, good at showbiz)
comic: Neil Hamburger (some of these were actual jokes, not as meta as i was expecting)
encore guest: John Doe (still sings well)

The major diff from the Maxwells shows is there's room onstage for a guitar tech.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 14 December 2017 06:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Los Straitjackets ran "My Heart Will Go On" thru the surf-rock mixer

YLT had a harpist

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 14 December 2017 20:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

yeah, saw that Mary Lattimore (the harpist) joined 'em last night — she's great.

tylerw, Thursday, 14 December 2017 20:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i thought it was strange she stayed for the loud raveups -- tried to hear her, couldn't

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 14 December 2017 21:01 (eleven months ago) Permalink

haha, yeah i imagine it'd be tough for a harp to drown Ira out

tylerw, Thursday, 14 December 2017 21:14 (eleven months ago) Permalink

setlist from last night:

credit to Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
13 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 2)*

comedian: Neil Hamburger
opening act: Los Straitjackets
mix CD: Dave the Spazz

whole set (after 1st 3 songs) with Mary Lattimore on concert harp.

The Evil That Men Do (Craig’s Version)
Run, Run, Run (Velvet Underground) (surf instrumental version) (with Los Straitjackets)
new song #1 (“That Guy”)
Green Arrow
Today Is The Day
Gentle Hour (Snapper)
Pablo and Andrea
The Sea Horse
Stupid Things
Big Day Coming (fast)
We’re An American Band
The Story of Yo La Tango

with John Doe of X on vocals/guitar/bass
The New World (X)
My Darling, Blue Skies (John Doe)
Pressing On (Bob Dylan)
Let’s Get Rid of New York (The Randoms)
Adult Books (X)

Badmotorfinger Debate Club (MFB), Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:34 (eleven months ago) Permalink

never heard "Let’s Get Rid of New York" before

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 December 2017 03:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

oh man I loooove that tune, nice choice

sleeve, Friday, 15 December 2017 03:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

(nothing against NY, just a great song of regional pride)

sleeve, Friday, 15 December 2017 03:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i now agree w/ the sentiment

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 December 2017 03:44 (eleven months ago) Permalink

haha, caught last night's comedians about ten years ago; once was enough


ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 December 2017 17:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

oh man, they did 'gentle hour' live? love that.

campreverb, Saturday, 16 December 2017 02:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

well that's a wrap — pretty amazing, i think the only repeat song in seven nights was "tom courtenay" (they did both the electric and acoustic versions).

tylerw, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:08 (eleven months ago) Permalink

there's 8 nights :)

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:34 (eleven months ago) Permalink

oh lol duh

tylerw, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:36 (eleven months ago) Permalink

interested to hear michael shannon's alan vega impression ...

tylerw, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:38 (eleven months ago) Permalink

there's a clip on eleanor freiedberger's instagram

mizzell, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Google is our friend, tylerw


ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

ha, well that was fast ...

tylerw, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

pretty good!

tylerw, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 16:03 (eleven months ago) Permalink

oh man i wish i could have made it to more than one of the Maxwell shows

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 19 December 2017 17:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I miss them.

Evan, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 17:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I think I was at the Shepherds Bush gig described by masonic boom at the top of this thread, and I thought they were great. But it was quite busy and maybe I was in a better spot, Shepherds Bush Empire has been very hit and miss soundwise for me. I saw JSBX there once and the sound was terrible.

Anyway I was thinking of that gig today because they covered Neutron Bomb by Art Attacks that night and today I found out the Art Attacks guitarist died last month.

Colonel Poo, Tuesday, 19 December 2017 17:28 (eleven months ago) Permalink

they've done "Autumn Sweater" at least twice this run

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 December 2017 17:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Ira, Georgia and James will be back for another NYC show this summer, this time a Rocks Off Concert Cruise on June 28. The show will be aboard the The Liberty Belle which departs from Pier 36 at the Seaport. Tickets ($50) for this show will be available with no service charges at Earwax Records in Williamsburg on Friday, April 13 from 5-9 PM and are cash only. Any remaining tickets will then go on sale online on Saturday (4/14) at noon.


the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 11 April 2018 02:47 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Ira is still a crazyman, georgia’s voice sounds great, and they played ‘be thankful for what u got’

let’s get real (alomar lines), Saturday, 2 June 2018 08:08 (six months ago) Permalink

And that’s my show review. Print that shit!

let’s get real (alomar lines), Saturday, 2 June 2018 08:09 (six months ago) Permalink

I have two tickets for this saturday in los angeles if anyone is interested? been under the weather lately.

officer sonny bonds, lytton pd (mayor jingleberries), Thursday, 7 June 2018 15:22 (six months ago) Permalink

saw them here in PDX the other night. was kind of lukewarm on the setlist, but agree that Georgia sounded great.
I'm not sure they have such a great job recording/mixing her vocals on these past couple of records.

campreverb, Thursday, 7 June 2018 15:44 (six months ago) Permalink

The last show of theirs I saw was such a snooze I decided I wouldn't go too far out of my way to catch them again, but they're playing Oxford, MS, in September, so I may see them one more time.

WilliamC, Thursday, 7 June 2018 15:53 (six months ago) Permalink

I caught the 2nd show in SF and thought they were spellbinding - especially the first, more ambient set they played. The fairly large crowd was so so so wonderfully quiet, too

KevRus, Thursday, 7 June 2018 17:19 (six months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Hanukkah shows (Dec 2-9) on sale Friday.


a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 10 September 2018 17:41 (three months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

anyone going next week? i may not.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 30 November 2018 18:33 (one week ago) Permalink

I'll be in town the night of the last show, gave it some thought ...

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 30 November 2018 18:36 (one week ago) Permalink

Apparently the other night they covered “Jesus” with the Blind Boys of Alabama. There’s also a nice clip of Ira and Jon Langford duetting on “Girl From the North Country.”

JoeStork, Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:29 (four days ago) Permalink

Never been, always wanted to go ... so I got a good deal on tickets, so pretty much coming to the city to hang out with my old buddy and see the Saturday show. I'm pretty jazzed and have really been enjoying There's A Riot Goin' On over the last month.

dronestreet, Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:55 (four days ago) Permalink

Matmos last night! I couldn't go.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:51 (four days ago) Permalink

and LaLa Brooks from the Crystals! jeez, I need to go to this someday ...

tylerw, Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:03 (four days ago) Permalink

setlists etc are over here: http://www.jessejarnow.com/blog/

tylerw, Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:06 (four days ago) Permalink

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