Entries tagged with: Yo La Tengo
words and photos by Chris Gersbeck
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.
"We regarded music as a form of socializing, and took a resolutely unprofessional approach. Only a few of us in the scene ever imagined becoming professional musicians. We were the stepchildren of the first generation of no wave bands (a term Chris Nelson coined in the New York Rocker, where I was a part-time photographer) like Mars, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, D.N.A. and the Contortions. We took pride in our facile and self-taught instrumental licks, and played music that was often hookless and even atonal. Our influences were broad, including jazz, African music, commercial jingles, and the English punk movement, especially the artier aspects. We avidly followed bands like the Fall (in its earliest incarnations), Wire, and X-Ray Spex, all of whom we were able to see at CBGB.As prophesized, Mofungo opened for Yo La Tengo on the sixth night of Hanukkah at Maxwell's in Hoboken. I have no idea when the last time the No Wave band (if ever) got back together, but according to the above-quoted article, they played their last show in June 1992 at CBGB. And Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric were in fact special guests, as were Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco and Tara Key of Antietam, and Gil Divine. Eugene Mirman returned as comedy opener. Ira made the mix disc. And they do it again tonight. Last night's setlist below...
It was an era when the East Village was not the tourist trap it has become. There were few restaurants open in the evening, and nearly every hipster you saw on the street was carrying an instrument. Everyone was either in a band, or was a DJ or rock critic. Music was featured at loft parties, festivals, and impromtu neighborhood clubs. One regular Mofungo gig was on the roof of my building at 630 East 14th Street, where we threw a party every Fourth of July. We also formed an alliance with Chain Gang, a punk outfit from the Bronx, whose members made a living driving cabs and self-released a series of amazing singles."
[The inside story of Mofungo by Robert Sietsama]
As rumored, Mission of Burma stopped by Maxwell's this Hanukkah to be one of Yo La Tengo's eight openers. A full review and set of pictures from last night's show is coming soon, but meanwhile let's figure out what we've got so far:
12/1 - M. Ward, Todd Barry, Nash KatoSo who else will open and/or play with YLT on the final three nights?
12/2 - The Parting Gifts, Jim Gaffigan, members of The Feelies
12/3 - Jeff Tweedy, Eugene Mirman & Kid Congo Powers
12/4 - Syl Johnson, Jon Glaser, Peter Wolf & Ira's mom
12/5 - Mission of Burma & Wyatt Cenac
12/6 - ?
12/7 - ?? & Kurt Braunohler & Kristen Schaal & ??
12/8 - ?
Well, "Anonymous | December 2, 2010 9:31 AM" says that Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric, who played Bowery Electric on November 12th, announced that they'd be at Monday's show "during their show near d.c." That comment was made four days ago. Since then Wreckless Eric made a surprise last minute appearance at Home Sweet Home Friday night. BUT, "Anonymous | December 6, 2010 11:10 AM" says "Tonight's opener is Mofongo, despite the apparent info that Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby would open. Perhaps Eric and Amy are the encore guests."
note that the proper spelling is: Mofungo
Last night's setlist is below...
photos by Andrew St. Clair
Peter Wolf & Ira
As someone promised, Syl Johnson was the opener for Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's on Saturday night (12/4). Syl was also in town to play Southpaw on Friday which was the night Jeff Tweedy opened for Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's. Saturday night's comedian was 'Rabbi Attitude' aka Jon Glaser. The special guests were Peter Wolf and Ira's mom who made an appearance in 2008 as well. The mixtape was by Numero Group. Full setlist and more pictures from the fourth night of Hanukkah, below...
words and photos by Chris Gersbeck
Yo La Tengo played their third of eight Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's on Friday night (12/3), and this was probably the most anticipated due to strong rumors of Jeff Tweedy opening which turned out to be true.
Each Yo La Tengo Hanukkah show has an associated charity, and this night's was the Elsyian Charter School of Hoboken, so the show started with twenty or so children taking the stage to perform some Yo La classics. I almost felt bad laughing (as did everyone else) when they began singing "Stockholm Syndrome", but only because it was just so adorable. After performing "Sugarcube" and "Mr. Tough", the children parted the crowd to make their exit (they really did sound great by the way), and shortly after we were treated to an intimate and absolutely beautiful set from Jeff Tweedy.
Playing Wilco classics like "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart", and rotating through Uncle Tupelo songs and covers, Tweedy's voice sounded as great as ever. The crowd was clearly filled with his fans as well; many of them were singing along throughout. After closing with a stellar and, well I'll just say it, mind-blowing rendition of "A Shot in the Arm", Tweedy thanked the crowd and promised we would see him later. And that would definitely happen...
Eugene Mirman, who has always been one of my favorite standup comics, was the comedian guest of the night. The highlight of his set included revealing his fascination with the Tea Party, his subsequent registering on a Tea Party social networking site, and his printouts of legitimate Tea Party members profile pictures from that site. My favorite being simply a photo of a machine gun laying on a carpeted floor, the owner's toes only barely visible on the bottom of the photo. Wow. Eugene's reading of his favorite tweets, accompanied with a theremin, was also a great and hilarious way to end his set.
Eugene didn't join Yo La Tengo on the stage during the show like Tweedy would, but I'm not sure many people were expecting that anyway. Tweedy in fact performed nearly the entire initial set with Yo La, pleasing the crowd with a version of Wilco's "Jesus, Etc.", Bob Dylan's "One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" and quite a few of my favorite songs from Yo La Tengo's prolific catalogue such as "Can't Forget", "The Race Is On Again", and "I Should Have Known Better". For such a small room, they really get quite a big sound.
Yo La Tengo's encore was mostly a tribute to the late Alex Chilton, who has joined them on Hanukkah in the past. After Ira Kaplan stated that some of Chilton's most notable work was with legendary punk band the Cramps, he invited Cramps' guitarist Kid Congo Powers for a couple covers of his band. Ending the night on a particularly loud note, though I probably should stop standing right next to those gigantic speakers, Yo La Tengo said "we'll see you tomorrow!" and left the stage through the crowd.
Jeff Tweedy headlined Bowery Ballroom one night later, and Yo La Tengo continue playing Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's through 12/8 (the final night of Hanukkah). More pictures and some videos from the third night, below...
Jeff Tweedy & Eugene Mirman last night (via widder_twidder)
Jeff Tweedy was in fact the opener for Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's last night (12/3). He also later joined the band as a guest. Stay tuned for a full set of pictures, but you can check out the setlist below. YLT & Jeff played Wilco songs. Who will open for Yo La Tengo tonight?
Jeff Tweedy continues his NYC-area run tonight at Bowery Ballroom with two of his Wilco bandmates, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, in the opening band. The Autumn Defense are also playing the Living Room on Sunday which is the night off from their short tour with Jeff.
Nels Cline arrives on Monday to help celebrate Yuka Honda's 50th birthday. Nels also plays a NYC show on January 8th as part of Winter Jazzfest, and he has many other shows scheduled all over the place.
All of Jeff's tour dates, now with Boulder, CO, and last night's YLT setlist below...
Two down. Six to go. As promised, The Parting Gifts opened Thursday night's Yo La Tengo show at Maxwell's. And as theorized, Jim Gaffigan was the comedian. Jim kicks off his run of SEVEN shows at Best Buy Theater tonight (12/3). You can catch the Parting Gifts tonight at Union Hall.
Yo La Tengo were also joined by special guests Glenn Mercer and Bill Million of the Feelies, and The Great Gaylord on vocals for a song. Night Two's mixtape was made by Damian from Fucked Up.
"Program a few (relatively) uptempo songs into the mix. This might sound counterintuitive, but you will want to vary the pace of your mix tape so as to avoid having it turn into a "saddest music in the world" contest with the songs canceling each other out. A showdown between Richard Buckner's "22" and The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" is not what you want here. Yo La Tengo, Josh Rouse, and Ryan Adams are all excellent candidates for this job. RECOMMENDED: "Directions" by Josh Rouse; "To Be Young (is to be sad, is to be high)" by Ryan Adams; "The Lie and How We Told It" by Yo La Tengo.Was Thurston Moore's mixtape a sad mixtape or a happy mixtape?
Yo La Tengo continue their run of Hanukkah shows with mystery openers tonight (12/2). Richard Buckner appears in town for a one-off show at Mercury Lounge on Friday (12/3).
Don't be sad, but check out the video of Richard performing "22" in 1994, below..
Syl Johnson @ MHOW in 2009 (more by Ryan Muir)
Anonymous 1:57 AM left a potentially true tip that "SJ" are opening for Yo La Tengo at Maxwell's on Saturday. 2:30 quickly followed with a guess that SJ could in fact be Syl Johnson... who happens to be playing Southpaw Friday night (12/3).
Last time Syl Johnson was in town, he was backed by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound who won't be backing him again this time because they're playing DC Friday night, BUT they will be in NYC one night later to play Public Assembly (with The Above / Fred Thomas / Gospel Queens / Poor But Sexy).
Video of JC Brooks covering Wilco, below...
the 12/1 sign & mixtape
Thurston Moore made the mix tape. Nash Kato of Urge Overkill was a special guest, as was an Elvis impersonator named Gene Dinapoli. Anyone have the setlist?
One down, seven more nights of Chanukah at Maxwell's to go (note: Ted Leo actually also has December 5th off - one night before Terminal 5 - which I didn't notice when I first wrote the last post which is now updated).
Yo La Tengo @ Maxwell's (Hanukkan 2008) (more by Natasha Ryan)
Thanksgiving is not even a week past, but Hanukkah is already here and that means eight Yo La Tengo shows at Maxwell's in Hoboken. One for each night, they shed a sweet fucking setlist and opener and comedians and special guests and charities and mixtapes and who knows what. You never really know what you're going to get until it happens, but we can try and figure it out. Who will open each show?
Well, we already know The Parting Gifts are scheduled to appear on night two.
12/1 -Who else seems likely?
12/2 - The Parting Gifts & ?
12/3 - ?
12/4 - ?
12/5 - ?
12/6 - ?
12/7 - ?
12/8 - ?
The Greenhornes played Bowery Ballroom last night (11/30) and have nowhere to be until December 5th. Ted Leo kicks of a tour on 12/2, so if he's a special guest, it has to be tonight (12/1) or 12/5 (his night off). He's back in town on 12/6 to play Terminal 5 with the New Pornographers, but there's no way he could do T5 and Maxwell's in one night (and he's back on tour right after). The New Pornographers (AC Newman and Neko Case included) on the other hand have almost every single other night of Hanukkah free (and AC Newman's show with John Wesley Harding isn't until December 17th) (John Wesley Harding is free all days except 12/5).
Kurt Vile plays Knitting Factory on December 3rd and has all other days of Hanukkah off. Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, and Pat Sansone are playing Bowery Ballroom on 12/4 and Tarrytown on 12/6, but are free on 12/3 and 12/5. Nels Cline is in NYC on 12/6, and is free 12/7 and 12/8 (but it doesn't look like he'll be around the same time as the other members of Wilco unfortunately).
The Feelies have no conflicts or upcoming dates at all. Mission of Burma play Maxwell's and the Bell House in January, but you never know, maybe they'll come down for this too. Stornoway seems like a longshot, but they are in town on December 2nd and free 12/1, 12/6 and 12/7. Warpaint play Manhattan on 12/1, Brooklyn on 12/2, Philly on 12/3 and DC on 12/4, and then are free after that.
Titus Andronicus, who by the way are opening for Passion Pit at Wellmont Theater on 12/30, have to be in Florida to play a show with Superchunk on 12/4, but are otherwise free. Superchunk have from the time they finish that Florida show until 12/9 to get to Toronto to open for Broken Social Scene. Superchunk are next scheduled to be in NYC in March to open for Bright Eyes who recently popped up as a guest at a NYC show. Screaming Females, who opened for Yo La at Brooklyn Bowl recently, are recently home from Europe and totally free.
Jim Gaffigan is not the most likely comedian to show, but it would be a good warmup for his seven shows at Best Buy Theater. More likely are some mix of Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, David Cross, Jon Benjamin, John Oliver, John Mulaney, Kristen Schaal, Hannibal Buress, Michael Showalter, Leo Allen, Mike Birbiglia, etc...
All the Maxwell's shows are long sold out, but Craigslist is hopping. Leave tips and more ideas in the comments. Tour dates for most of the artists mentioned in this post, below...
"Their set started with a catchy track, "Keep on Walkin'," from their upcoming album. They sounded great, with Chuck Berry riffs and boogie-woogie piano and awesome, pounding drums provided by Poni of The Ettes. Their music isn't straightforward punk, but soulful, moody garage rock that seems to take inspiration from many decades of intense, heartfelt rock 'n' roll." [Nashville Scene]That "upcoming album" is called "Strychnine Dandelion", and is actually out now via In the Red and is streaming in full online.
Maybe you caught the Ettes Tuesday night at Bowery Ballroom. They opened for the Greenhornes. Catch the Parting Gifts Thursday (12/2) @ Maxwell's (if you have a ticket since it's the 2nd of eight sold out Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows), Friday (12/3) @ Union Hall with The Morgues (tickets), and Saturday (12/4) @ Sonar in Baltimore (thx anon).
Seven more YLT openers to figure out. All Ettes and Parting Gifts dates below...
DOWNLOAD: Crystal Stilts - "Shake The Shackles" (MP3)
"We are also playing tomorrow night with Crystal Stilts, German Measles and The Mad Scene (Hamish from the Clean, Girl from Yo La Tengo)..." - Street Chant
Crystal Stilts at Rock Shop (Pascale Gueracague)
Crystal Stilts played Rock Shop on Friday (10/29), days after the release of their new Shake The Shackles 7" via Slumberland Records. Download the title track above and stream both tracks from that release, below.
Crystal Stilts seem to open for half of the indie legends that pass through town (The Vaselines, Dean Wareham playing Galaxie 500, Henry's Dress/Aislers Set, Comet Gain), and/or play with every notable current indie-pop band who are on tour too. They're also part of indie supergroup Cinema Red & Blue which prominently features Comet Gain's David Feck, but also "employs the services of Amy Linton, Hamish Kilgour and Gary Olson." It's not a big surprise then that their recent Rock Shop show with German Measles, The Surprisers and The Mad Scene was equally indie-star studded, though it was the Mad Scene that consisted of regular member and New Zealander/Brooklynite Hamish Kilgour of The Clean along with Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, Amy Linton of Aislers Set, and Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor. New Zealand band Street Chant, who were in for CMJ, also played some songs at the show.
If you missed Crystal Stilts over the weekend, you won't have long to wait to catch them again, and for FREE; the Brooklyn band will play a free show at Brooklyn Bowl on 11/14. It's part of the venue's "Local by Local" series of shows. 21+. 8pm show.
Meanwhile, Cinema Red & Blue released their debut LP last month on What's Your Rupture. Crystal Stilts have a new LP on the way as well and though very few details have been released, look for it in early 2011. Until then, tide yourself over by checking out the new 7" tracks streaming below.
Oh Land @ MHOW
Well it's that time of year again. CMJ. A week jam-packed with music, movies, free beer, sleep deprivation, and hoards of wide-eyed college radio kids.
Cursed with a day job, on Tuesday I only had time on my lunch break to quickly pick up my badge and power walk over to the Living Room to check out one act - the Danish group Alcoholic Faith Mission. Though it was kind of weird to hear the line "Sober up" sung repeatedly to a room of people clutching free beer (at 1:30pm no less), I tried to see past the irony. It was pretty funny, after all. Alcholic Faith Mission's pretty, melancholic music may be better suited for a late-night show, but they made it work and didn't let the odd time slot decrease their fervor. First show of CMJ, a success! Though the dimly lit room was begging me to stay, I had already stretched my 'hour' lunch break past its limit, so regretfully I took my leave. Pictures from the whole show (except 1 band) are HERE.
After work, I headed over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to start my evening with another Danish artist - Oh Land. Wow. To give you an idea of what we're dealing with here, consider this telling snippet from Myspace. Growing up, singer Nanna Øland Fabricius had an "opera singer for a mother, a theater organist for a father and Björk's Homogenic on constant rotation." As you can probably imagine, this combination made for quite an eye and ear-catching show. She even brought props with her, including a large black board (think Lite Bright) with white bulbs that depicted various flowing patterns and a set of white balloons that each depicted fun (and sometimes creepy) projections. The show may have been somewhat gimmicky (she had light-up drum sticks, too), but Fabricius had the chops (and the look) to pull it off, and from what I can tell, her new EP (which just came out yesterday) will be worth a listen. Pictures from their Music Hall set are in this post. We also caught them Monday night at the Conflict of Interest Party. You can catch them next tonight at the Hype Machine party, and Friday night at Public Assembly.
Screaming Females @ Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday (more by Chris La Putt)
Though I was tempted to stick around Music Hall for the Miniature Tigers set, the timing wasn't right, so I headed over to Brooklyn Bowl for one of the larger shows of the week - MOG's free opening night party. Luckily, it was pretty early, so there was still plenty of space in the large venue. When I walked in, Screaming Females was already mid-set. The contrast between Oh Land's Fabricius and Screaming Females' singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster is striking to say the least. Though both women are fierce, they're also practically foils of one another. True to her band's namesake, Paternoster's presentation is aggressive, loud, and commanding, and the girl certainly isn't afraid to shred. Her austere, pilgrim-esque black dress was also quite a change from Fabricius' shimmering tights and sexy top. Catch them tonight/Thursday at MHOW.
Up next was the scuzzy garage rock act DOM. DOM is that kind of flannel-shirt-wearing, hair flying, ripped-jeans-wearing band who could belong to a number of different decades and sub genres, but I suppose their exact classification doesn't really matter. Like their predecessors of the evening, they rocked out pretty hard. They play #OFFLINE today/Thursday, and our day party Friday.
Initially, I thought DOM was kind of a weird opener... that is until Yo La Tengo started to play. They were much louder and dronier than I was expecting - especially the bass, which greatly obscured Ira Kaplan's vocals. But things did eventually lighten up when the group launched into "Mr. Tough," which features bass player James McNew on vocals. Suddenly, the room temporarily morphed into a twee dance party of sorts - quite a change from the mood cast by the previous four songs.
To account for the dramatic change of pace, Kaplan addressed the audience. "Apparently one of the thrills of bowling is hearing the sound of the ball hitting the pins - that solid crunch. So people have asked that we play a little quieter... so we have to bring it way down," he explained.
Though the grounds of the request were pretty ridiculous, it did seem to improve the sound quality. And the sudden noise downgrade certainly didn't stop the band from concluding the first part of their set with a LONG, rocking instrumental interlude that had Kaplan absolutely pouring with sweat. Though encores are somewhat rare during CMJ, I guess it should come as no surprise that in this case, there would be an exception. The band came back on stage for three more songs, finishing with "Yellow Sarong."
When Yo La Tengo had finished playing, I decided to head over to Glasslands to check out Dent May (you know, for a change of pace), but when I arrived and found that they were over an hour behind schedule, I decided to call it a night and set out for the unkind G train. It was just night one, after all. The week was just getting started.
More pictures from the Yo La Tengo show are HERE. More of Oh Land (with an older video) and the line outside Brooklyn Bowl before Yo La Tengo, below...
photos by Chris La Putt
Screaming Females, Dom and Yo La Tengo helped kick off CMJ at Brooklyn Bowl on Tuesday night. The Mog-sponsored free show was Yo La's only area show until Hanukkah, but just the first of a few for the two others. Screaming Females' next show is TONIGHT at MHOW (10/21). They also open for Corin Tucker at Maxwell's on Saturday, three days before Corin plays Bowery Ballroom. DOM has a bunch of CMJ shows including our Friday day party.
A full review of Brooklyn Bowl is coming. More pictures and a couple of videos from the show, below....
Yo La Tengo @ the Bell House in September (more by David Andrako)
All eight Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows are sold out, and frankly, even catching a free Yo La Tengo show during CMJ can't compensate for missing one of those shows, so I won't pretend this is good news for those that got shut out of Maxwell's, but this is good news nonetheless. Yo La Tengo will play a free Mog-sponsored CMJ opening night show at Brooklyn Bowl on Tuesday, October 19th (M.I.A. style). And it gets better. Screaming Females, also from NJ, will open the free Brooklyn bowling alley show. It kicks off at 8pm (doors at 6).... and UPDATE: Dom is playing it too!
Don't want to wait in line to maybe catch Screaming Females for free when you can guarantee your way in the door to see the same band two nights later? Want to see them twice? Hate bowling alleys? Don't go out on Tuesdays? You're in luck, because as previously-mentioned, Screaming Females are also playing the official BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 21st with the stellar lineup of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Blow, Yuck, and Young Man. Some tickets are still available (and we'll be letting in a whole bunch of people with CMJ badges).
Yo La Tengo recently got back from Vegas where they helped Matador celebrate 21 years in legendary fashion, but before that they took part in a Brooklyn show that may be remembered as a legendary show for alternative NYC comedy (though not necessarily for nice reasons).
In November, City Slang is having a 20th birthday party in Berlin. Yo La Tengo are playing that anniversary celebration too. Full lineup, including The Notwist playing "Neon Golden" from start to finish, below...
Guided By Voices at Matador 21 (via)
"Anyone who walked into the popular casino during the three-day venture witnessed a culture shock like no other as hundreds of well-established, middle-aged rockers filled the building to see label legends Sonic Youth, Pavement, Belle and Sebastian, Guided by Voices and more. Performing inside the small and intimate Pearl, most of the bands were playing in Vegas for the first time.While NYers were fast asleep and trying to stay warm at 5AM, Matador 21 was officially coming to a close in the Las Vegas desert early Monday morning (10/4) with a two hour set from Guided By Voices. Over the course of a full-set and two encores, both Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) and Matt Sweeney (Chavez) made unscheduled appearances with GBV (as a stage-diver/crowdsurfers) as the band tore through classics like "A Salty Salute", "Tractor Rape Chain", "I Am A Scientist", and around 30+ (!) others.
"It has run smoothly but with a lot of help from the staff and all the people that are working for us," said founder of Matador Records, Chris Lombardi. "It's come together. We were very conscious of all the potential snafus that could arise and so far it's been fun."
Potential snafus were rife but any real problems were kept to a minimum during the first two days, besides Pavement's performance on Friday. Having paved the way for some of the most well-known artists of our generation, (think Weezer and Ben Kweller), the '90s rockers had continuous difficulties with their sound that caused problems both onstage and offstage for the band.
But that didn't seem to faze the crowd, which was made up of fans from all over the world, all who were more than ecstatic to see their favorite Matador artists. The festival went so well, actually, that it's kind of surprising." [The Rebel Yell]
The label's 21st anniversary party kicked off on Friday with sets from Pavement and Sonic Youth (who played the Hollywood Bowl in LA) along with Chavez, Fucked Up, Guitar Wolf (whose flights were delayed, forcing a late Friday night performance), and Harlem. Saturday featured a headlining set from Belle & Sebastian (who recently played Williamsburg Waterfront), in addition to Spoon, Superchunk, Cat Power, Perfume Genius, Come, Esben & the Witch, Cold Cave, and Girls. Collaborations seemed to be the order of the day: Yo La Tengo hopped on stage with The Clean, Hamish returned the favor, Ted Leo joined Liz Phair...
A selection of videos and setlists from the festival, below....
words & photos by David Andrako
"Boo Todd relentlessly. Throw shit at him. When Jon (Benjamin) and I tell you to stop, ignore us and boo louder." - David Cross's instructions to the audience just before Todd Barry's "surprise" appearance.
The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival came to a close on Sunday, its fourth and final day, at The Bell House with two sold out shows. There was the early show billed as "Wes and Eugene's Cabinet of Wonders", and the late show "A Toddless Tinkle."
Friend and frequent collaborator of Eugene, John Wesley Harding, hosted the early show along with Eugene. The show featured performances by Yo La Tengo, John Oliver, Colson Whitehead, Darin Strauss, and Scott McCaughey.
Darin Strauss, the Brooklyn based author of "Half a Life" read a recently written piece entitled "Puberty", which was an autobiographical story set in the mid 1980s that involved gaining entrance to a much cooler high school classmate's party. Scott McCaughey, touring member of REM, performed two songs backed by Harding and his backing band The English UK including a 5 minute tribute to the 1986 Mets.
Eugene Mirman made a brief appearance with his newly purchased $380 Theremin and also returned to the stage to "sing" a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." Colson Whitehead, the New York based author, read a chapter from his best selling 2009 book, Sag Harbor. "John Wesley Harding's favorite comedian", John Oliver, from The Daily Show and the upcoming "Smurfs" movie followed with a set that featured a particularly interesting story about a gig in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Yo La Tengo closed the show with a five song set that featured both Harding and McCaughey and included covers of "I'm A Believer" and The Kinks' "All That Will."
Between the shows Eugene made his way out to the dunk tank in front of The Bell House as John Oliver and Daniel Kitson threw balls at the target and were cheered on by the long line of fans waiting for the 2nd show.
The 2nd show, "A Toddless Tinkle", was hosted by Tinkle founders David Cross and Jon Benjamin. Todd Barry, the other member of the Tinkle crew was at the Music Hall of Williamsburg as an opening act for Superchunk. From the beginning of the show Cross and Benjamin let the crowd in on the fact that Todd would be making a "surprise" walk on sometime between 10 and 11PM. Both agreed that the proper greeting for Todd would be for the audience to boo him off stage. Throughout the evening random audience members were brought onstage to audition to fill the role of "Todd." "Todd #2", an audience member named Andy ventured out into the audience to attempt to do some of Todd's famous crowd work. Andy failed miserably but did offer some unintentional comedy when he approached (and didn't recognize) Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo and mocked him for his orange shirt and told him that he looked like Gilbert Gotfried. Cross quickly jumped in and saved Kaplan from being mocked by the auditioning "Todd".
Todd Barry made his way to The Bell House shortly after 11PM and was greeted by the aforementioned boos as well as cups, beer cans and hundreds of expletives. He attempted to win the crowd over but ended up quickly leaving the stage and the venue.
The nearly 3 hour show featured short sets from John Mulaney, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, and Karen Kilgariff. Festival favorite Daniel Kitson was the final performer of the evening with a 12 minute set that saw him chastise the audience over their reaction to Todd Barry's appearance and pointed out that everyone went along with the "mean boys" (Cross and Benjamin). The show ended with the 2nd ever screening of Cross and Bejamin's "Paid Programming", a mock informercial that aired a handful of times on Adult Swim last fall. The 11 minute short was meant to be aired at 4AM and didn't have any mention of the creators. And with that the 3rd Annual Festival came to a close. 9 shows, 3 venues, 25 velvet paintings of Eugene and 1 angry Todd Barry.
Yo La Tengo Hanukkah 2008 (more by Tim Griffin)
Maxwell's reports that, after a year off (they last did it in 2008), Yo La Tengo are returning to Maxwell's for Hanukkah this year. As always, expect the full lineups to be announced after the shows sell out, but note that they will sell out before the full lineups are announced. Yo La Tengo plays every show, but expect surprise guests, reunited openers, comedians, mixtapes and more.
by Klaus Kinski
As I get older, I just I don't have the wherewithal to see as much comedy as I should. It's really depressing. There are so many goddamned GREAT comedy shows happening in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even Queens that rather than pick one to go to, my brain shuts down and says "Just go home and watch Wheeler Dealers on the ole DVR, KK." It was easier to decide when Rififi was around. So thank Cod there's a yearly comedy festival in Brooklyntown that brings my ever flabbening body out of hibernation and reacquaints me with a sliver of the current roster of the greatest living comedians. That festival is the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, and this year it takes place from September 16th - September 19th and will impregnate The Bell House, The Rock Shop, and Union Hall (or as I like to call them, the most annoying venues to go if you don't have kids or play bocce) with its comedy seedlings.
As with previous years, the 2010 Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival brings together a supremely jaw-dropping group of comedians and performers. What can one expect? Oh, I don't know. Maybe (definitely) Emo Philips, Daniel Kitson, Jon Glaser, Max Silvestri, David Cross, Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Kurt Braunohler, Yo La Tengo, John Wesley Harding, Sarah Vowell, John Mulaney, and so many more I'm liable to puke with glee should I continue. What am I most looking forward to? Thanks for asking! I'd have to say it's a toss up between the bill Yo La Tengo falls on and a rare Tinkle performance (without Todd Barry, sadly)(although, Todd is opening for Superchunk at MHOW on September 19th, so that's something) (sold out though) (probably because Todd is on the bill).
The festival line-up will be tweaked, added onto, emboldened, modified, and made better as we make our way to the opening date, but have a gander at what's already planned below. In the immortal words of the person who put the roster together for me, "This is what's happening; but not everything that's happening". Ticket info to follow, but many shows will be on sale in advance. Also, please see a message from enfant terrible David Cross below...
Pete Seeger @ Clearwater Festival 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
City Winery will be hosting a three-night oil spill relief benefit, dubbed Reclaim The Coast, on July 23rd, 25th and 30th. The lineups vary for each...
July 23rd: Pete Seeger, Richard Barone, James Maddock, Elysian Fields, Mike Doughty, Lucy Wainwright Roche, The Roches, Julie Gold, Peter Yarrow (More TBA)Tickets for all three are on sale.
July 25th: Ian Axel, Ed Romanoff, The Madison Square Gardeners, Paula Valstein, The Spring Standards, The Wellspring, Rich Pagano (More TBA)
July 30th: Marshall Crenshaw, Martin Rivas, Christina Courtin, Among the Oak & Ash, Jay Nash (More TBA)
They'll also have a packed house for "Channeling Chilton - A night of Alex Chilton's Music" on July 28th. The confirmed lineup includes Yo La Tengo, Marshall Crenshaw, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Doug Garrison, Rene Coman, Alan Vega, Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Fran Kowalski, Chris Stamey, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn), Jay Proctor (of Jay & the Techniques), Bill Cunningham, Gary Talley, Terry Manning, Evan Dando, Jesse Malin, Danny Kroha (of The Gories). In light of the recent passing of founding Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, it should be an emotional night.
Tickets are on sale.
More info on the Gulf Coast relief effort are below...
Matador's 21st birthday fest will be happening in Las Vegas October 1st-3rd. For it, they've pulled the cream of the indie-rock crop. Previously speculated headliners Belle & Sebastian and Pavement will be there - on top of that, Guided By Voices will be reuniting to play, "in the band's "classic '93-'96 lineup!" The most recent show for GBV was New Year's Eve 2004/05.
In addition to those three, the lineup includes Sonic Youth, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, New Pornographers, Superchunk, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Guitar Wolf (who also play NY), Chavez, Girls, Fucked Up, Harlem, Cold Cave, Shearwater, Kurt Vile and Jeffrey Joe Jenson. More will be annonuced July 5th.
A flyer is below...
by Andrew Frisicano
I snuck this picture of the t-shirt...
"Chris Knox (born September 2, 1952) is a New Zealand rock and roll musician, cartoonist, and DVD reviewer who emerged during the punk rock era with his bands The Enemy and Toy Love. After Toy Love disbanded in the early 1980s, he formed the group Tall Dwarfs with guitarist Alec Bathgate, much loved for their honest, unpolished sound and intense live shows. His 4-track machine was used to record most of the early Flying Nun singles." [Wiki]Jeff Mangum played a set of Neutral Milk Hotel songs for the first time in nine years at the benefit for his friend, musician Chris Knox, last night, Thursday, May 6th. From opener "Oh Comely" to encore "Engine," and "A Baby For Pree," "Two Headed Boy Pt. Two" and "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" in between, Mangum's voice was clear and strong as he sang from a chair into microphones set up a few feet away. Most of the audience looked somewhere between giddy excitement and shock. Some quietly sang along, others broke out into tears - one person choked on frantic, shallow breaths as "Oh Comely" climaxed, another stood with his hand over his gaping mouth, unable to move.
A few photos were furtively snapped in defiance of the posted signs, but most were content to just listen. Though "just listen" doesn't really describe the gasps, tears and unending applause. Mangum played with his eyes mostly closed, neck vein tensed, rocking and swooping to the contours of the songs. His eyelids fluttered open on the chorus of "A Baby for Pree" to reveal eyes rolled back into his head. Between songs Mangum gulped down water and was gracious, bordering on triumphant as he popped up at the end of "Aeroplane." He encouraged the crowd to contribute to the encore, "Engine." After the set, someone caught his attention with a book to sign, which he did. Most people up front looked anxious and ready for a post-show smoke.
It was fitting maybe that the bill for Mangum's last show, in 2001 in New Zealand, was with Chris Knox, who suffered a stroke in 2009. Though Jeff Mangum was a clear pinnacle, the rest of the benefit gig was an engaging, full evening which covered 12 bands and 2 comedians, and ran more than five and a half hours (though at least 1/3 of the venue cleared out after Mangum's 8:50pm set). The show ended at 1am, amazingly, exactly as scheduled.
Coasting (set time: 6:20pm) opened up with appropriately coastal guitar sounds and surefire drums, Sharon Van Etten played three songs with nuanced dynamics on electric guitar. The Magnetic Fields' Claudia Gonson played only one song as a trebly synth trio to cover "Beauty" which the band does on the Chris Knox tribute CD Stroke.
Robert Scott (of the Clean) and TVOTR's Kyp Malone (aka Rain Machine) both played solo guitar sets. Kyp, who told the crowd they should check out the new Devendra Banhart video (he checked it out in a cafe because he doesn't have internet), was joined by Emilyn Brodsky for what he said was a Bob Marley cover. Rachel Feinstein did raunchy comedy.
After that, there was New Zealand band Dimmer (who are in town for a while), The Mad Scene (Hamish Kilgour of the Clean's other band), David Kilgour of The Clean (backed by Yo La Tengo and one other band member) and comedy from John Mulaney (who killed it) (and who you may have seen doing a bit about girl scout cookies on a recent episode of SNL).
"Portastatic" was Mac backed by Yo La Tengo. They closed with Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker" complete with windmill guitar moves and pogoing from some of the crowd (even though the concert was going into its fifth hour at this point). Yo La Tengo, with extra member David Kilgour on guitar, covered a Chris Knox song, said many kind words about Chris and closed with two songs from their 1993 album Painful, which Chris Knox contributed art work to.
The Clean, who Ira introduced as the greatest band in the world, and who'd already been up several times as their solo bands, closed the night right, both jangly and poppy. And despite the mass exodus after Jeff, a respectable amount of people were still there right until the last song. Catch the Clean again (if you have a ticket because it's sold out) at The Bell House tonight (5/7).
Editor's note: Ben Goldberg did an amazing job organizing the event, keeping scalpers away, and making sure that pretty much every person in that venue (except maybe the bartenders) paid their $75 donation to Chris Knox to get in the door (or $20 if you showed up after Jeff went off). Ben did less of an amazing job during his pre-Yo La Tengo stand up routine, but nobody's perfect!
Illegally shot (not by us!) audio and video from the event, and the new Devendra Banhart video, and Jeff Mangum's setlist again, below...
De La Soul at Coachella (more by Rachel Carr)
Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest 2009 was a blast (with one notable exception) and so far 2010 is turning out to be similarly interesting with the addition of the great De La Soul to headline the shindig on July 10th alongside Buckshot, Evil Dee and Smif-N-Wessun. Tickets are on sale.
The show is part of a week long celebration:
The calendar for the 6th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival kicks off with Show & Prove on Monday, July 5th. This Hip-Hop showcase of independent and local talent is the final event of Brooklyn Bodega's three month Show & Prove competition,De La Soul recently played Coachella, are scheduled for NXNE, and recently announced that they will provide a remix for the forthcoming Here To Fall Remixes EP by Yo La Tengo!
Tuesday, July 6th will feature the Bodega Education Initiative, a day of panel discussions and seminars about the legendary producer, J Dilla. Speakers include Q-Tip, Ma Dukes Yancey, DJ Spinna and more.
Wednesday, July 7th is a mini Film Festival that features a variety of Hip-Hop films and a Q&A with established and burgeoning filmmakers.
Thursday, July 8th is a night dedicated to the backbone of Hip-Hop: the DJ. It will feature performances by the best DJs, from NYC to LA.
Friday, July 9th is the kick-off party to formally welcome Festival goers, past and current artists and community leaders to the 6th Annual BHF.
Saturday, July 10th is the culmination of the 2010 Festival. De La Soul, just ahead of a new album to be released this year, will headline on the DUMBO waterfront. Earlier in the day, we set it off with Family Day - a block party for families and children that celebrates the core message of Hip-Hop - social change and individual empowerment.
YO LA TENGO have worked with a huge variety of artists from different genres over the years.... In 2010, the band presents an EP of remixes of "Here To Fall," the lead track from last year's "Popular Songs," by De La Soul, RJD2 and Pete Rock.De La and Yo La? Quite the fascinating collaboration...
"Here To Fall" is the most popular track from "Popular Songs," a couple having a tense conversation about the future over the background of menacing, descending chords and distorted wa-wa guitar. Each of these legendary hip hop performers has taken the track and the story and made it their own.
Buckshot, Evil Dee, and Smif N-Wessun will be celebrating 15 years of Duck Down Records at the BHHF show, a milestone they'll also celebrate at BB King's on July 13th with the addition of Sean Price and Pharoahe Monch (who headlined the Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest last year). Tickets for that NYC show are on sale.
Pharoahe Monch also plays a free show in Queensbridge Park on July 21st.
Duck Down also partied for their 15th down at SXSW, during which time Buckshot and Smif-N-Wessun both made appearances at our Attitude Adjustment party at Red 7.
Tons of classic video below...
photos by Rachel Carr, words by Daiana Feuer
The third and final round of the Coachella Music & Arts Festival was funky, and not just because the port-a-potties reeked. Keeping a loose theme every day (see Friday & Saturday), Sunday focused on relentless rhythm and groovy basslines. The absolute golden moment belonged to Yo La Tengo's blistering final song. Rhythm that revels in repetition + guitar that tries to destroy itself = wee mind blown. Sometimes the moodiest things are the most uplifting.
Thom Yorke brought his dancing shoes, his favorite Flea, and Nigel Godrich. His band Atoms For Peace played almost every song off The Eraser, many of which featured strong world rhythm sections. When Yorke didn't have a guitar in hand, he danced, whirled, and punched the air like he was rehearsing a scene from Fame. We wanted a high kick, but it didn't arrive. King Khan & The Shrines, on the other hand, featured legs flying all over the place, DJ Lance Rock and Yo Gabba Gabba characters, burning money, as well as a visit from the police-who crept on stage to snap pictures. Probably the first time Khan runs into cops and doesn't leave wearing cuffs. Sunny Day Real Estate had the audience offering bids to buy property, and Phoenix had people choking on dinner as they tried to dance and eat at the same time.
King Khan Gabba Gabba
Not every Julian Casablancas song captivated, but his band delightfully binged on rhythms. Each musician had a personal backbeat player supporting each fill. The drummer plus his sidekick especially sounded great. Matt & Kim's ebullient smiles inspired chaos in the audience, as usual. Mayer Hawthorne and the County revived Motown soulful brassiness and covered Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." The Big Pink played some new songs from next year's album, reaching out for Depeche Mode with a drummer in a pink bathing suit. Electro sweet popper Little Boots forgot her pants as well, wearing a sparkly shirt and knickers, and played with the lasers on stage. Charlotte Gainsbourg inaugurated her "first tour, first everything" with a feminine "Candy-O" sensibility, sometimes in French. Florence & the Machine rounds out the great lady performances of the day, and brought on Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids.
All clad in white, France's DJ ego-powers Club 75 demonstrated the ability to cooperate together with just a few elbows thrown. Cassius, Justice, Busy P, and DJ Mehdi still use CD's (so old school), and took turns passing on the headphones between them and finishing each other's remix sentences, trading places at each station. Backstage security bobbed along while staying tough. When it was their turn, Rusko turned the Sahara tent into a mechazoid robot battle and Orbital live-produced virtual reality anthems for Satan wearing Matrix miner lights around their heads. Infected Mushroom instructed on the benefits of "Becoming Insane" flanked by two mushrooms with red eyes.
The Middle East should not be confused with The Soft Pack, formerly The Muslims. The former may be from Australia but it sounds like a back porch band from Woodstock, and the latter offers a "Parasite" infestation that's as pure as sunshine and a neat drum set up that packs a giant tom punch. What appears as regular rock on headphones reveals its brilliance when experienced live. One of the strangest live moments of the festival belongs to Sly Stone, who played four hours late and on the wrong stage. He bitched, he slurred, he cursed, lay down, walked off, stopped songs and good grief, made a total mess of himself. But that's rock and roll.
Sly Stone made history look unable to get past its youthful drug phase, but Jonsi, Pavement, and Spoon come from a music scene that did a little bit less cocaine. Jonsi repped the awesomeness of Sigur Rós and great hats. Steve Patterson of White Rabbits joined Britt Daniels and the rest of Spoon to add percussion on "I Turn My Camera On". Spoon's tour-mate Bradford Cox (who played earlier in the day in Deerhunter) also joined Spoon on stage, like he did on their recent Kimmel appearance. Pavement ran through the hits during one of their first U.S. shows since reuniting. "That's the 90's in a nutshell," said Stephen Malkmus after the angsty "Unfair"...
"...Pavement, the iconic slacker band of the '90s, who took the main stage against what turned out to be one of the fest's chief attractions, the finally wildly popular French dance-rock band Phoenix, who wowed possibly the biggest crowd of the entire fest ... while Pavement played to a field half-full of true believers rather than the massive throngs many expected, and thought the band deserved.Virtual Snoop Dogg introduced the Gorillaz set, but Blur's Damon Albarn appeared in the flesh, with a few special guests including Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, De La Soul-who kicked their own old school jams earlier in the day-and Little Dragon's Yukimi. One unique rhythm transcended the next, showing the mutability of hip hop and dance music. And then that was it, suddenly. The festival ended and tens of thousands of people started wondering where they left their car keys...
No matter, though. Pavement still delivered a set that vindicated the group of prior crimes -- namely a Coachella performance near the end of their career so notoriously bad, many in attendance point to it as the moment the band decided to break up.
This night, however, they were tight, they were loud, and they sounded large on that vast field -- an odd statement, given the fact that in their heyday they were far more known for being introspectively small rather than arena-ready..." [The OC Register]
Radiohead Peppers For Peace
Daiana's Weekend Top 10:
1. Yo La Tengo's last song
2. Little Dragon's Yukimi
3. Gossip leading a revolution
4. Thom Yorke dancing to African rhythms
5. PiL giving a history lesson
6. Sly Stone wigging out
7. Bouncing penises + fat people in undies (Die Antwoord + Major Lazer)
8. Devo putting on the hats that ushered in modern pop culture for "Whip It"
9. John Waters corrupting many young minds
10. The Gorrilaz lyric: "Super fast jellyfish going super fast. You can't even see him but you wanna eat him."
Owen Pallett, Local Natives, Miike Snow, and Yann Tiersen also played the fest Sunday. Gary Numan was among those who couldn't. Reviews & pictures from Day One, HERE and Day Two, HERE. Setlists (Thom Yorke and Pavement), pictures, and videos from Day Three, below...