Yo La Tengo, 4/16, Newport, KY

Alternate title: Why Ronson doesn't review shows or have a career as a music photographer...

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Yo La Tengo show at the Southgate House. YLT is one of my favorite bands and seeing them headline was exciting for me. In fact, minus a couple of songs (We're An American Band, Pablo And Andrea), I heard every song I wanted to hear and I left the show excited to write about every aspect, every detail that might be of interest to anyone.

Then I got busy. I didn't have the photos (they were in my girlfriend's camera) and etc, etc. I finally got the photos this weekend. While they looked good in the camera, they're sort of...lacking in full size and color. OK, they suck. But with a little cutline background, they might be salvaged. Here we go:

This is the best of the bunch (yeah, yeah, I know). This is lead singer/guitarist/organist Ira Kaplan (with the microphone in his face) and James McNew (seated) playing the opening number (Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop - an entertaining rarity).

I think this is a psychedelic version of basically the same image. Or somebody moved. Or I couldn't keep my hand steady. One of those explanations (though I like the psychedelic answer best).

My best action shot of the night, this is Ira breaking out of his "laidback dude" mold and playing guitar like only he can. Of course, it's kind of dark and I had to crop out all the peoples' heads who were in front of me. I'm telling you, if these photos would have been taken by a 5-year-old, they'd be fascinating. They're playing "Sugarcube" or something...

The coolest part about this picture is that there's a creepy shadow of some dude's head in the far left corner (zoom in and check it out!).

None of this really captures how exciting this show was. The Southgate House was packed (especially for a Monday night) and Yo La played at least 15 songs and an extended encore which included James McNew singing an obscure Beach Boys song and Times New Viking (the opening act) joining them for yet another obscure cover.

Yo La Tengo are amazing live because they're aware of how people listen to music and they organize their shows like a mix tape. For example, there's an extended slow break, right before they rip into four of their best pop gems (I Should Have Known Better, Sugarcube, Tom Courtenay and Run Ronnie Run). Their best performance of the night was of a song from their new CD that I wasn't even that crazy about before (The Story of Yo La Tango). Their style is so expansive that they can play six different styles
of music (pop, punk, drone, soul, surf, etc.) in a set, yet they'll all be distinctly Yo La Tengo. They're a rare band for people who are a fan of music in general and not locked in to seeing one style of music. Otherwise, you might get a little bored (or even infuriated) mid-set. But highly recommended, even if these photos don't quite do them justice...

1 comment:

keltzjm said...

Dudes named Ira = awesome nerd heros

Dudes named Ari = Jewish frat boys