Posted in comedy | music | pictures on December 7, 2010

words and photos by Chris Gersbeck

Yo La Tengo

Last night was night six, and Yo La Tengo played their fifth night of Hanukkah shows on Sunday (12/5), with their eight night stay at Maxwell's quickly coming to an end. I can only imagine the amount of exhaustion that comes from planning and rehearsing these shows, though you'd never know it thanks to consistently great performances from Ira, James and Georgia.

The legendary Mission of Burma, who just may be the greatest long-running live act of all time, were tapped to open the night. Playing almost entirely new material, along with a slew of covers including the Buzzcocks' "I Don't Mind" and the Wipers' "Youth of America", Burma continue to prove that they're one of the few, if not only bands to reunite and still produce material as innovative as in their heyday. And maybe I just haven't seen them live in a while, but Roger Miller's new hairdo is fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in January.

Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac was the comedian guest of the night and his act was well received by the crowd. Cenac's stories were at times a bit convoluted, but the payoffs were definitely worth it. Apparently he and fellow correspondent John Oliver have a show coming in 2011 to follow the Colbert Report, which makes perfect sense.

It's kind of amusing that Yo La Tengo opened with the somber and mesmeric "Green Arrow", considering how intense their set would later become. Tearing through "The Room Got Heavy", Richard Hell's "I'm Your Man", and ending with "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss", Yo La's songs often collapsed into long, droning swells of feedback. Adding to the noise collage was Burma's tape-looper (and Shellac bassist) Bob Weston, who was sitting in with the band for the night, albeit from the soundboard. Manipulating YLT's vocals, guitars and percussion throughout, Weston added that unique quality that has become synonymous with Mission of Burma's sound.

All of this lent itself well to the encore, first with Roger Miller returning on organ to perform Jonathan Richman's "Astral Plane" with WFMU auction winner Jason Kaufman on vocals (who did a great job), then with MoB drummer Pete Prescott singing one of his and Weston's Volcano Suns songs (Weston came out to play bass on this one). Before long, Clint Conley also returned to the stage on guitar to perform as the supergroup I personally have dubbed "Yo La Burma". To say it was incredible to watch is an understatement. It's not too often you get to see things like this happen in such an intimate venue, so if you get the chance to check out any of the remaining shows, definitely do so.

More pictures from the fifth of eight crazy nights at Maxwell's are below.

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

5 December 2010
*(Hanukkah, night 5)* (via)

Mission of Burma and Wyatt Cenac opened.
benefit for International Rescue Committee & Partners In Health
Mix disc by James.
(whole set with Bob Weston of Mission of Burma/Shellac/Volcano Sons mixing/looping/dubbing)
Green Arrow
Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop
Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
The Crying of Lot G
Periodically Double or Triple
The Room Got Heavy
The Empty Pool (Yung Wu)
Pablo and Andrea
Paul Is Dead
Nowhere Is Near
I'm Your Man (Richard Hell)
Drug Test
Double Dare (fast)
Sugarcube
Mushroom Cloud of Hiss
*(encore)*
Astral Plane (Jonathan Richman) (with Jason Kaufman, WFMU auction winner, on vocals and Roger Miller on organ)
Cover (Volcano Sons) (with Peter Prescott on vocals and Bob Weston on bass)
Ben Wa Baby (Phil Milstein) (with Clint Conley on bass, RM, and PP)
Frenzy (The Fugs) (with CC, RM, PP)
So Tough (Dredd Foole) (with CC, RM, PP)

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Comments (27)

Burma is fantastic. Can't wait to see them in January.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 10:34 AM

" to perform Jonathan Richman's "Astral Plane" with WFMU auction winner Jason Kaufman on vocals (who did a great job)"

Congrats on winning the auction. I was the second highest bidder, so I hate you. :)

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 10:36 AM

haha nice, what would you have sang?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 10:45 AM

I heard that bedbugs are opening the last show.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 11:24 AM

"haha nice, what would you have sang?"

Keeping with the Jewish songwriters theme, I would have done either the Ramones or the Dictators. First choice would have been "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" by the Ramones as an extra holiday bonus.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 11:34 AM

this was the most amazing night.

by far my favorite so far along with Thursdays first set...

Bring on January - and shit - get out those new MoB tracks! EP?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 12:05 PM

"The legendary Mission of Burma, who just may be the greatest long-running live act of all time, were tapped to open the night. "

Oh please, enough with the hyperboles...

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 12:32 PM

The Voice is reporting tonight's guest is the National.

Posted by Roland | December 7, 2010 12:36 PM

Uh, make that Wednesday's.

Posted by Roland | December 7, 2010 12:37 PM

"long-running live act?" - does that take in to account the 20 years when they weren't doing shows?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 12:46 PM

goes to show...the best openers are always on the weekdays...I always run and get weekend tickets and who have I seen??? Lambchop, syl whoever he was...i geuss it makes sense that thier buzy playin NYC on a Sat....but wtf!!! national, bpb tonite!!

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 1:08 PM

"the best openers are always on the weekdays"

Huh? Sly Johnson was incredible! Definitely the best opener so far. True, MoB are great, but they play NYC all the time. Hopefully Mofungo will play a few more shows since I missed last night.

Not looking forward to the National. Overrated (although I though Alligator was good album).

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 1:43 PM

"True, MoB are great, but they play NYC all the time"

if by all the time you mean once or twice a year, okay. it's not like they're ted leo or titus...

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 1:47 PM

hey dicks sorry you get to see mob ted leo titus and ylt all the time boo fucking hoo spoiled brats

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 4:00 PM

^ um, what?

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 4:09 PM

that comment must be from someone in some isolated area.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 4:13 PM

It's called Brooklyn vegan for a reason dick. You don't belong here.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 4:35 PM

i live in brooklyn i have for 20 years i just can't believe people complain that good bands play to much, its insane, but I am not vegan i am a vegetarian so i guess i shouldn't look at this site

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 5:31 PM

Understood. But why aren't you a vegan? Don't you know vegans are better than everyone.

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 6:19 PM

This looks like it was awesome, but why the stitches on Peter Prescott's face? Why the blood on Ira's? What a violent gig!

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 7:19 PM

Pete was apparently in a bike accident, and Ira cut his forehead switching guitars. He didn't realize it till the song already started

Posted by Anonymous | December 7, 2010 7:32 PM

Wow, people are even jaded on Mission of Burma now? "Yeah, I remember when we all used to sit around in the cave banging rocks and drumming on hollow logs, then these fucking bipedals came along blowing their conch shells and shit, ruined the whole scene."

Posted by Atom_Jack | December 8, 2010 2:22 AM

who is jaded

Posted by Anonymous | December 8, 2010 8:31 AM

I like mission of Burma, but new material is meh

Posted by Anonymous | December 9, 2010 9:29 AM

you're meh

Posted by Anonymous | December 10, 2010 10:17 AM

meh is so nasal, makes me wanna cummus hummus in peoples bummus who say it.

Posted by Anonymous | December 10, 2010 10:35 AM

10:35 i really would love to know who you are and what your life is like.

Posted by Anonymous | December 10, 2010 10:47 AM

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