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Yo La Tengo spun the wheel @ the Bell House w/ Antietam (pics), do it again tonight w/ The Baxx Sisis (dates)

photos by Winnie Cheung

YLT @ the Bell House – 5/10/11
Yo La Tengo

“For their current U.S. tour, the band has embraced the indie-rock equivalent of “Wheel of Fortune,” a large wheel divided into several categories, including songs beginning with the letter S or an entire instrumental film score written by the band. A spin by a guest lands on an imperative that sets the performance for the first set.

That wheel [was] with them Tuesday when they [began] a sold-out, two-night stint at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

“The less information we give people about what’s going to happen, the better,” Kaplan, now 54 years old, said in a recent interview.

The concept revitalizes Yo La Tengo’s back catalog by stepping outside the common practices fueling the music industry’s nostalgia boom. But it’s also a lot of work.

“It calls upon us to be familiar with a lot of songs that, until we did it, we weren’t familiar with at all,” Kaplan said. “A couple of songs we’d never played [live] before — some songs we’d never played in years.”

For Kaplan, the notion of touring behind one of the group’s classic albums holds little interest. “That was one of the things,” he said. “Do we put records on [the wheel]? But we didn’t want to.”

The second set features songs of the band’s choosing, a safeguard for the crowd should the wheel stop at one of the more esoteric options, such as “Sitcom Theater,” which requires the members of Yo La Tango to act out an episode of a sitcom of their choosing.” [WSJ]

Last night’s first set, determined by the wheel, was “The Name Game” which meant all songs they played had a name in the title. You can see a picture of the list of names they played (“Griselda,” etc), give or take a name, below.

The next Bell House show goes down this evening (5/11), with The Baxx Sisis opening. More pictures from last night’s show which was opened by Antietam, and more tour dates too, below…

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Yo La Tengo — 2011 Tour Dates
May Wednesday 11 Brooklyn, NY The Bell House
May Saturday 14 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
June Saturday 04 Dublin, IE Forbidden Fruit
June Monday 06 Edinburgh, UK Queens Hall
June Tuesday 07 Gateshead, UK Sage Gateshead
June Wednesday 08 Leeds, UK Cockpit 2
June Thursday 09 Birmingham, UK O2 Academy 2
June Friday 10 Oxford, UK O2 Academy
June Sunday 12 London, UK Royal Festival Hall
June Saturday 18 Denver, CO Westword Music Showcase
June Monday 20 Columbia, MO The Blue Note
June Tuesday 21 Iowa City, IA Englert Theater
June Thursday 23 Minneapolis, MN 400 Bar
June Friday 24 Minneapolis, MN 400 Bar
June Saturday 25 Chicago, IL Green Music Festival
June Sunday 26 Chicago, IL Subterranean

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