Monday, March 22, 2010

Yo La Tengo (March 19, Sala Apolo)

As a band that has been consistently releasing quality records for over two decades, it would seem that Yo La Tengo might have little need to prove themselves when it comes to distinguishing their live material from that of their recorded.  A "best of" set list with perhaps a few songs off the new album would be suffice for your typical band that's now well into their forties.  But alas, Yo La Tengo has repeatedly shown us that they are not so easily pigeonholed and Friday night's performance demonstrated that though they may no longer have the need to reinvent their identity with each new release, the constant reinterpretation of their vast repertoire eliminates any notion that they're anywhere near to becoming irrelevant or outdated.

The most striking feature for those who had yet to see Yo La Tengo perform in a such intimate setting, as opposed to the more withdrawn set from last year's Primavera Sound, was the immediate sense of unpretentiousness and stoicism that all three members distinctly project to the audience.  Their many years of touring have turned them into masters of their craft but they've constantly maintained their accessible and above all else, humble origins.  The first segment of their show highlighted the standouts from 2009's Popular Songs and a clear favorite was the reconstructed and bent version of the opener "Here to Fall".  By being their most orchestral piece of recorded music, the song clearly presented a new type of challenge for a band whose reputation lies most in their low-fi style. Nonetheless lead-man Ira Kaplan's saturating use of a totally refashioned analog organ filled in any space that might have been felt in the absence of the song's original lush production.

The group wisely took advantage of their multifaceted talents by dabbling in every nook of the immense pool that is the Yo La Tengo sound.  One number might consist of no more than two acoustic guitars and the accompaniment of Georgia Hubly's fragile voice whereas another has them showing off their best brother Gibbs impression or then shatteringly performing their dense noise rock classics.  Apart from playing their own material, their shows have grown in notoriety for their eclectic selection of covers from more obscure artists.  This segment was underscored by the recent death of Mephsis legend Alex Chilton.  While his more rambunctious pieces have become staples of the power-pop genre, one of the night's true highlights was the subdued tribute paid to the Big Star favorites "Take Care" and "Thirteen".

Constantly thanking the public and unable to hide their gratification for the lively, yet at times quite raucous reception, Yo La Tengo's final number "My Little Corner of the World" epitomized what the band has successfully worked for throughout their career in generously giving their fans a serene hideaway that their music both represents and repeatedly provides.


  1. Trevor, escribes muy bien. Deberías plantearte una A Viva Veu inmersión!