Stranded In Stereo: SiS At The Club: Yo La Tengo

Friday, November 16, 2007

SiS At The Club: Yo La Tengo

When I first saw Yo La Tengo a little over a year ago, I was skeptical. For almost 10 years, I had raised myself on a healthy dose of their brand of cross-pollination; utilizing their albums like a mix tape, where at times no two songs were ever the same.

Their live shows can be a testament to that, and the current Freewheeling Yo La Tengo tour finds the band utilizing their love of mixing things up: providing new arrangements for their own songs, performing some of their favorite covers, and answering questions from the crowd, all off the cuff for nearly two hours. Seeing it once was amazing, so seeings how they played an early and a late show (something they've done for a number of these dates,) seeing them twice would be purely entertaining.

The band is notorious for never playing the same set twice; they had to apologize to people who requested songs in the second set that they played first, because that was how they rolled. They took questions from the crowd, and tried to answer them as accurately as they could; one about the stock market resulted in a discussion of Porky Pig, and how bassist James McNew was a proponent of the shirt but no pants thing that cartoon characters do, and how comfortable it really was.
I wanted to participate in the activity of actually having a dialogue with one of my favorite bands. As it got quiet early in the first set, I just announced 'Detouring America With Horns, please?' While down in front someone made a request for "One P.M. Again." Guitarist and vocalist Ira Kaplan told the gentleman in the back (me) that the vetoed my request for a song they barely play and barely remember for a song that they barely play. That didn't bother me, though, I was elated when they ended up closing the show with it.

While the early show had a vibe that almost felt as if there was a set to follow, the second set did not. The late show rules were in affect, the band claimed. By the third song in they were already taking requests (someone demanded they play Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes," and they did, because that how the late show rolls Ira Kaplan claimed.) That request followed with a request for "Our Way To Fall" (tear,) and someone asking for Georgia to speak the first verse of "Madeline," which they denied, so they played the song instead. Lots more covers in the second set; people ask for a Dump (James' side project) song, so they get a cover from a Dump album. Someone asked the song they closed with at the Avalon last year a capella, only if the guy in front would hum it. He hummed it, they broke it out (The Cosmic Rays' "Somebody's In Love.") Someone even attempted to request "Detouring," which they had to reject since it was played. I then shouted to thank them, to which Ira kindly replied "Someone mustered enough money to go to both shows. You thought it was obnoxious because we already played it, but now it's worse because he's here to rub in." Go me.

I was asked later that night if I could decide which show was better, and I can't and I won't. I don't want to pick favorites on this one; each show brought its own brand of uniqueness and of genuine fun. I guess it could be better if you could mesh an ultimate set between the two, but there's nothing about that that makes it freewheeling.

There's so much more to note and remember, but I can't seem to rack my brain at all. Check the sets below for notes and facts.

Early Set:
Beanbag Chair / Stockholm Syndrome / Decora / Be Thankful For What You Got (William DeVaughn) / You Tore Me Down (Flaming Groovies; played after discussing how they thought about, but quickly scrapped, Fakebook II, which would've been Fake:Book II, just like Mission:Impossible 2's pointless location of the colon) / Big Day Coming (*slightly altered arrangement of the fast version, with Georgia on vocals) / Mr. Tough / Gentle Hour (Snapper cover) / 1PM Again / Today Is The Day (rock version) / No Water / Fourth Time Around (one of their Dylan covers from I'm Not There) / Pablo And Andrea / Deeper Into Movies / Emulsified (Rex Garvin) /// Don't Cry No Tears (Neil Young) / Detouring America With Horns (thank you Ira, Georgia, & James)

Late Set:

Tom Courtenay (
Camp YLT Version) / I Should've Known Better / Starry Eyes (Roky Erikson) / Our Way To Fall (tear. again.) / Madeline / On The Right Track Now (Roky Erickson) / (Unknown Cover) / The Weakest Part / Nuclear War / Cherry Chapstick (*played as the answer to the question 'have you ever written a song and then realzied it was already written?' Ira says it might sound like "The Diamond Sea," but I always thought it sounded more like "Teen Age Riot") / Sugarcube / Somebody's In Love (The Cosmic Rays) / The Ready-Mades (The Bonzo Dog Band) / The Crying Of Lot G / Autumn Sweater (awesome arrangement, Georgia and Ira doing some call and response vocals for the chorus) / The Story Of Yo La Tango /// Season Of The Shark / Love (Robyn Hitchcock)

Download: "Fourth Time Around" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

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