Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yo La Tengo @Roseland Ballroom, Sept. 25th

The concert gods smiled upon me again as I won a pair of VIP tickets to see Yo La Tengo at the (dreaded) Roseland Ballroom, thanks to The Music Slut. This was not the first time I had won tix to see YLT -- it has been almost exactly three years since I got my ass flown via helicopter to see them in Jersey City, and I took dear brother Ste (newly engaged, might I add!) once again to see our faves. Luckily, our VIP status enabled us to sit upstairs in the very spacious Mezzanine, which suited me just fine after two prior consecutive nights of seeing Elvis Costello and U2, respectively. Muchas gracias! Coincidentally, Shana also won a pair of tickets (but not VIP) so I managed to smuggle her and Julie up for a pretty relaxing evening.

I was looking forward to seeing this show after seeing them perform an abbreviated set when they opened for Wilco at Coney Island a few months ago. Also, it's always refreshing to see these guys play -- they seem rather unpretentious (especially after seeing someone like Bono the night before), and they manage to mix up their shows quite a bit that one would be hard pressed to call them repetitive.

Tonight, YLT augmented their show with a light show by Joshua White and Gary Panter projected on a large screen at the rear of the stage. It very much reminded me of the time they played The Sounds Of Science at the Prospect Park Bandshell, but this time without the angry octopus. From the Mezzanine, I had a good vantage point from which to spy the setup. The band played on the stage where you'd expect them to be:

while the light show crew of about ten people worked behind the screen:

Pretty nifty! It resulted in a great psychedelic backdrop which pulsated and evolved with the trippy music, kinda like seeing the old Pink Floyd laser light show at the Hayden Planetarium, except live and more organic. Here's a cut off their latest album, Popular Songs, entitled "Here To Fall," during which they brought on a small troupe of accompanying strings:


The evening featured a setlist of material that spanned their career, as well as their diverse range of styles, from guitar shredding riffs to perfect head bopping, finger snapping melodies. They switched off on instruments and vocals quite a bit, demonstrating their truly collaborative effort. My appreciation for Yo La Tengo only grows more and more.

I also recorded videos for my favorite song, "Autumn Sweater," and the last song, a requested oldie called "The Whole Of The Law," as well as the rest of my pics on my Flickr.

There was additional support by Susquehanna Tool & Die Co. (of whom we unfortunately caught only the slightest glimpse), comedian John Oliver (très drôle), and The Black Lips (très noisy and hard to understand).

Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the link.

3 comments:

specialk said...

I was at the show last night also. Yo la Tengo is great-I think Georgia should be declared the current queen of rock-she does it all. I also agree that the black lips were too loud (at the time I thought it was mostly me being too old). Too bad you missed Susquehanna Tool & Die. They were very entertaining and were a great choice to start out the evening. I disagree about john oliver-I think he was very funny and was a perfect choice for the band and the crowd.

Qbertplaya said...

There's a good reason why I don't usually go to Roseland (I think the last time was in Spring '05 for Weezer) -- I think their soundsystem is quite atrocious, and many bands sound muddy there. Happy that YLT's sound worked for the most part there.

I don't disagree re: John Oliver. I'm pretty sure that "très drôle" means pretty funny in French, tho I could be wrong. It's been a long time since I was in high school!

specialk said...

you are right-I took spanish in hs-my mistake