Yo La Tengo, EartH, London, February 17th 2019

From the apologetic shuffle onstage and into the woozy beat driven ‘You Are Here’, Yo La Tengo made sure that the faithful who had gathered to see them in this extraordinary venue knew that they were witnessing true artists at work such was the low key nature of both entrance and performance. It fitted perfectly with the surroundings – a repurposed cinema where the stage was in everyone’s view and which had the sense of a scientific lecture as the audience disseminated every movement and instrumental switch made by the band. The feeling was heightened by the minimal lighting that often left the band in a murky darkness whilst the audience was bathed in purple.

The band were artfully tight – rehearsed to a clinical level yet trying to retain a sense of happenstance that would fit with the casual intellectual vibe. The constant movement between instruments made for one of the few indicators that this was a performance. The band barely acknowledged the audience and only spoke to us briefly on 3-4 occasions lending proceedings an earnest air. Moments of dry humour such as Ira Kaplan leaving his keyboards and walking across the stage three times during a song to hit a cymbal once each time were in short supply.

That said the two sets contained some thrilling versions of their canon, highlights included ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, ‘Ashes’ and ‘For You Too’. Both sets were deeply infused with a sense of the Velvet Underground from the noisenik wig outs of ‘Pass the Hatchet’ with its layers of sound and even audience feedback participation to Georgia Hubley’s delightfully Nicoesque vocal turns (particularly on ‘Shades of Blue’) and Mo Tucker style drumming.

There was much to enjoy here but one can’t help feeling that the evening would have benefitted from some shared affection between the band, the crowd and the process. They were great, we thought they were great but somewhere the joy was missing.  

Set 1 :

You Are Here

The Point of It

What Chance have I Got

She may, She Might

Ashes

The Last Days of Disco

The Pain Of Pain

I Feel Like Going Home

You Are Here

Set 2 :

Dream Dream Away

And The Glitter Is Gone

Stockholm Symndrome

For You Too

Shades Of Blue

From A Motel 6

Autumn Sweater

Double Dare

Ohm

Pass The Hatchet….

Encore:

Til The End of The day

Season of the Shark

Tom Courtney

 

Yo La Tengo bring their live art to East London

Author: Keith Hargreaves

Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

Leave a comment..

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.