I think some bands are just suited for a certain space. I saw Fiest and Andrew Bird at Lollapalooza and thought, man, these people need intimate venues. All day musical festivals are not for them.
When I saw Yo La Tengo last night, I thought, these people DESPERATELY need to be playing outside right now, to a field full of people. Alas, we were stuck indoors in the icy weather.
Let me preface this by saying, I knew NOTHING about YLT going in to the show last night. A friend asked me if I wanted to go, I said, hey, why not? But I didn’t prepare for the show by checking out their stuff. I went in absolutely blind.
So my take? They are really inconsistent with their style.
In their defense, the first half of the show was determined by a spin of the wheel. There were eight different setlists that could be picked, and we got a selection of songs from band member James McNew’s side project, Dump. Admittedly, I really dug what I heard. Any time you do a cover of a Prince song, you’ve won me over. When I discovered this morning he does A WHOLE ALBUM of Prince covers? I was an instant fan.
However, the second half of the show was a selection of songs from YLT’s discography. And I’m just not sure I like all that they do. The songs where they let Georgia sing were awesome. The songs where they sounded like a jam band? Not so much.
In truth, I’m not sure I’m their demographic. If I looked around the crowd, it was filled with men in their early to mid 30s who knew every word.
My friend who invited me disappeared shortly before the encore and didn’t return before the end of the show. When I tracked him down later and asked what happened, he said he had had his fill of them. And this from a man who has seen them nearly 10 times and proclaims them one of his favorite bands. I think that’s pretty telling.