Monday, January 24, 2011

Yo La Tengo, Cat's Cradle, 1/23/2011 (Not exactly a review.)

Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo croonin' and strummin' at Cat's Cradle.

My wife reminded me it has actually been five years or so since our last Yo La Tengo show. It was before the kids were born, but I think it was after the show at Lupo's in Providence I wrote about on here back in '03. (Kicking around the mental attic for a second ... ) Wow, y'know it's possible that was the last one. Too long. Way too long between shows. Anyways, rectified that sad state of affairs last night by catching their second of two weekend shows at Cat's Cradle up by UNC. (Very glad, by the way, my sweet wife was willing to come along and take it in with me, given her slight aversion to "guitar fits," a characteristic of Ira's playing style.)

I was dragging today at work but, man, I'll you what, I'd do it again tonight if I could. They were amazing. Pound for pound, the most raucous, sweetest, feedback-y, boppy, tender, build-it-up-to-tear-it-down-and-wear-that-motherfucker-outest band I've ever seen. I felt exactly like 18 or 19-year-old me out there, the first time I saw them live at a little club in New Haven, CT back in 1988 or '89: swept up and blown away.

Look, I'm not here to tell you they're everybody's cuppa. I'm not even saying they should be ... who am I to tell you? Whatever it is that makes humans like music, feel the beat, sing along, whatever that thing in our nature is, mine is made to hear what they're playing. I saw a tweet after the show from someone complaining about falling asleep during a jam and I get it, if you're not digging it, you're just not, but it is, I suspect, impossible for me to conceive of that feeling. Whatever Ira's doing with those strings, he might as well be plucking strands of my DNA. 

Is every song, as good as every other? No. There was a second where I think Ira forgot he had one line left in a song and had to stop noodling with whatever he had on the floor and dash/stumble back to his organ to get the line out and then run back to the spot I think he got to too soon. Hey, nobody's perfect.  

We got lucky, I think, with the spin of the wheel. Did I tell you this? They're spinning a wheel to determine what they're going to play the first half of the show. The night before was a Dump set; last night we got songs starting with "S." That's a good thing. Not that Dump isn't, but I'd put Yo La Tengo's song that start with "S" up against any other band's best of any and all starting letters and still take Yo La Tengo. 

They picked a kid named Matt from the crowd to spin the wheel and win a t-shirt. Lucky dog.  I hope his friends got a picture of him up there. Matt, if you ever see this, sorry I didn't, else I'd post it here for you. I've talked to Ira before shows a few times now, he's usually somewhere hanging out beforehand. Last night though he was in a conversation, so even though Tif was nudging me to go up and see if he'd let me get a picture with him, I didn't want to be Inconsiderate Fan Guy and horn in.  

I'm a little disappointed, on the subject of pictures, with my normally helpful mates over at FriendFeed -- not one suggestion for how to use the good camera at a night club (ISO setting, etc.), so I didn't bother bringing it. Just took the little point-and-shoot and got shit miserable, blurry-as-fuck pictures again. Twenty-some years of shows (with an admittedly long gap since the last) and a thousand great memories, but not one picture worth a damn from any of 'em. 

Here's another little video clip that turned out somewhat decent at least ... 

Should mention the opening act, a kid named William Tyler, was quite good with the guitar. I feel a little guilty buying Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics instead of his disc actually, since I had a bunch of the WFMU stuff already and didn't really need it, but I wanted something Yo La Tengo as a keepsake. Hereby resolved to grab the kid's disc next time I see it.


Yo La Tengo Songs Starting with "S"
1. Something to Do [snip above]
2. Stockholm Syndrome
3. Song for Mahila
4. Stay Away From Heaven
5. Some Kinda Fatigue
6. (Straight Down to the) Bitter End *first time played
7. Shocking Fashion Statement Terrorizes Town
8. Sugarcube
9. Sudden Organ [snip above]

Yo La Tengo
10. Mr. Tough
11. Cherry Chapstick
12. Madeline
13. Periodically Double Or Triple
14. When It's Dark
15. Decora
16. Tom Courtenay
17. The Story of Yo La Tango

18. Autumn Sweater
19. Speeding Motorcycle (w/ William Tyler)
20. Tried So Hard (Gene Clark cover) (w/ William Tyler)
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