Yo La Tengo - The Pageant - 1/31/13

Categories: Show Reviews

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While Georgia Hubley sang "Cornelia & Jane," last night at the Pageant I thought about her band's Twitter handle, @therealYLT, and wondered if I expected to see the real Yo La Tengo or my imaginary "best live band ever" version of the group constructed of only the most exciting scraps of its 29-year career. I thought about the way the band's music integrates casually into my life and wondered if it is bad fan behavior to hope Yo La Tengo is anything but casual back. I was able to think in depth about such things while one of my favorite bands played its fourth downer in a row, during a set that mostly crawled through its ninety minutes.

See Also:
- Photos: Yo La Tengo and Calexico at the Pageant

I have come to accept that part of Yo La Tengo's aesthetic involves wearing its audience's patience. There was something subversively punk rock about the band stretching its drone-rocker "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" further than its already long running time or interrupting a lulling stream of ballads with the Motown hues of "Mr. Tough." Ira Kaplan seriously needs to make an entire album of his squalling noise guitar temper tantrums. I have no hesitation saying his solo on "We're An American Band" last night was the single greatest guitar solo I have ever experienced in person.

Photos: Yo La Tengo and Calexico at the Pageant

Yo La Tengo mostly focused on tracks from its excellent new album Fade, but oddly highlighted the slow-moving back half of the record. Even Georgia Hubley looked bored behind a keyboard while her husband Kaplan sang "The Point Of It." In her usual spot on the drum throne, her playing was bogged down. I have not missed a Yo La Tengo show in St. Louis since 2004, and this is the first time the band sounded tired.

But even when not on top of its game, Yo La Tengo can create powerful moments.


Location Info

Map

The Pageant

6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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10 comments
Mike Appelstein
Mike Appelstein

I skipped this one out of sheer tiredness. Still wish I'd have gone, but looks like I didn't miss out on a killer setlist.

thecaptaincloud
thecaptaincloud

All around I thought it was a great show.  I enjoyed the Pass the Hatchet jam.  Such sonic seduction should be enjoyed long and loud.  I do agree with Matt that it should have been a bit louder, but that could just be me, I am getting slightly hard of hearing from so many "loud" concerts.   

Dan Buck
Dan Buck

Overall i thought it was a solid show, sure there were a few songs i would have like to hear ( i heard you looking and blue line swinger would top that list) but i like that you dont know what to expect. what i think they should do is just play " an evening with yo la tengo" and play two full sets without an opener. They have such a large selection to choose from, they could do a little bit of everything.

Joe Schwab
Joe Schwab

See the comment above you Les, now that's unprofessional!

MichaelDauphin
MichaelDauphin

The band was as great as any time I've seen them. The setlist, however, was pretty disappointing. If it weren't for Calexico's killer set, I would have left the Pageant kinda bummed.

Joe Schwab
Joe Schwab

Of course this is not their first go round in St. Louis. From what I recall, this was at least their 18th performance in the Gateway City. Seeing them early on, at Cicero's, Mississippi Nights, Wash U., First Rock etc. their catalog was still a bit thin. Playing a bulk of new songs from their latest Matador or Bar None release was the way to go. Now with thirteen official release in their discography, it seems as though this would be the right time to do a "Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers show". Let me explain, Tom Petty comes to town, performs 3 songs of the latest record and two hours of recognizable hits. You walk away thinking, wow what a great show, but he didn't play "The Waiting" or "Listen to Her Heart". YLT could easily do a hits show, one song after another of indie Rock classics. I'd love to see it. On the other hand, I've seen them many, many times and some of their shows are the best shows I've ever seen, a few were some of the worst. But what you can expect is the unexpected, so maybe the Petty formula is not for them and maybe it's what keeps them fresh.Unlike Tom Petty their fan base does not necessarily get older, they seem to continue to recruit the next batch of 4 year students. Not bad for a band pushing 30.

Travis Bursik
Travis Bursik

My favorite memory of them was when they played Mississippi Nights and Ira kept getting shocked my the mic so they played acoustic Ramones covers on the floor.

Jake Niehaus
Jake Niehaus

Good review on last night. I was a little disappointed in the setlist and while it made for an interesting watch, the 15 minute jam of Pass the Hatchet was nice...but it sure would've been great to have heard "Sugarcube", "Big Day Coming" or "Double Dare"...three songs that I first heard from the band and have yet to hear live. In 2010, I believe we got an extra five songs. You're right though they are one of my favorite bands and one of the best live bands

Matt Harnish
Matt Harnish

It was one of the quieter loud shows I've ever been to. During one of the awesome feedback squall solos, I turned to the person I was with & said, "I shouldn't be able to have a conversation while this is happening."

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