Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo

Last night we saw YLT play the 4th night of Hanukkah, accompanied by musical openers Sun Ra Arkestra and comedy situation "The Brothers Italiano."

I have seen a good number of YLT shows; let me preface my comments by saying that if I knew that Sun Ra was opening that particular night, I would have tried for another night.

For evidence, see the NY Times review of Tuesday night's show. I think I would have preferred the collaboration of Tortoise, indierock-knowing freejazzers who I imagine would have a degree more familiarity with the YLT catalog and audience.

GC didn't
enjoy the show in totality, and I'm not surprised. Having seen YLT share the Hanukkah stage with Other Dimensions in Music a few years ago, I thought I knew what to expect. That show was kind of the equivalent of two records playing simultaneously; sometimes there were miraculous moments of aligning wonder but more often things were kind of racket-ish.

Anyway, on to this show:

I have to say I enjoyed the opening set by Sun Ra Arkestra very much. I'd seen them open for YLT before, and this was better.

Comedy didn't do much for me, but other people enjoyed it.

The YLT set turned out how I thought it would. Unfortunately that means that some of the nice YLT songs were overpowered by curiously placed horn playing from the Sun Ra auxiliary. I wonder how the horn players are immune to the verse chorus verse nature of a bunch of the songs played, but upon reflection I have decided that they just didn't care. And YLT didn't care either, and I have no doubt that this was a more fun show to play than to hear. Thankfully there were moments of respite, a very nice Stockholm Syndrome, for example. The closing "Dreaming" (a Sun Ra Cover!) was probably the highlight for me.

So my socks weren't knocked off...this was still a fun show. Tasty Yo La Tengo, a bit overseasoned in places...

Here are the YLT comments on the occasion.

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