LIVE REVIEW: YO LA TENGO at the National Concert Hall, Dublin

ALBUM REVIEW: YO LA TENGO – "Stuff Like That There"


Yo La Tengo brought the material from their new covers album, ‘Stuff Like That There,’ to Dublin with great success as well as playing a range of other covers and stripped back versions tracks from their massive back catalog. The band came back to the stage at 9:15 before launching straight into a cover of Radio Morocco by Sun City Girls; the first thing I noticed was how well the sound was mixed (it was probably the quietest gig I’ve ever been to but everything sounded crystal clear the whole way through) and how well the band were able to play and connect with one another, they didn’t miss a beat the whole way through and it was really wonderful to see.

After Radio Morocco, they went into their cover of Hank WilliamsI’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, I was amazed by the fact that they were able to play it better in a live setting than on the actual album version. Georgia’s vocals were beautiful as always, while Ira Kaplan, James McNew and David Schramm were able to contribute to it with their fantastic instrumentation and harmonies. The fact that they were able to pull all of this off in a mainly stripped back set really surprised me because I expected the concert to be like one of their usual sets in which Ira Kaplan spends most of the time creating beautiful sounds with his guitar, but it all ended up being a very pleasant and nice experience the whole way through.

While the set mainly comprised of covers, they managed to play different renditions of tracks from Fade, Painful and Electr-O-Pura with great ease. I was surprised when they played Big Day Coming off  Painful – the actual album opens with a very somber, slow and very shoegaze-y version of the track while a faster and rock-ier version of the track appears towards the end of the record; this version on the other hand was a mix between the two with the obvious exception of the loud instrumentation and Georgia taking over vocal duties instead of Ira. It ended up being really nice to listen to and it made me think that YLT should release a record re-working a selection of their older tracks as opposed to one that’s mostly comprised of covers of obscure pop bands from the 60s.

The band returned to the stage for an encore after a rendition of Our Way to Fall from Fade and went straight into a cover of Cast a Shadow by one of my favourite bands ever, Beat Happening. I didn’t expect them to play this at all and the fact that they did was the highlight of the night for me because it completely took me by surprise. Georgia remarked that she couldn’t remember most of the lyrics from the track, hence why they started and stopped again fifteen seconds into the track; but she definitely made it through with ease and only ended up mumbling two lines overall. Seeing Yo La Tengo seemed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for myself but it turns out they’ve only covered Cast a Shadow at least thirty times in the past 26 years and that’s why it had a big impact on me and made everything a so much better that night.

After Cast a Shadow, Ira went into a beautiful version of Autumn Sweater from their eclectic 1997 masterpiece I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The only similarity this version didn’t have in common with the studio recording was that there wasn’t an organ in sight to contribute to the instrumentation but it was gorgeous nonetheless. The band closed their set with a rendition of I Still Miss Someone by Johnny Cash and left to a roaring applause from everyone in the hall.

I managed to catch what was probably the most pleasant concert I’ve ever attended, It defied my expectations and I was incredibly grateful for seeing it with my own eyes.  I am very thankful to Yo La Tengo for probably being the most consistent band ever who can experiment as much as they want without failing in any way whatsoever.

Yo La Tengo played – (Set One)

What Can I Say (NRBQ cover), The Point of It, Rickety, My Heart’s Not In It (Darlene McCrea cover), Automatic Doom (The Special Pillow cover), That’s What I’ll Do (Leonard Lee cover), The Summer, Stockholme Syndrome, Friday I’m In Love (The Cure cover), The Ballad of Red Buckets, Before We Stopped to Think (Great Plains cover)

(Set Two)

Radio Morocco (Sun City Girls cover), I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams cover), I Can Feel The Ice Melting (The Parliaments cover), Over You (The Velvet Underground cover), Butchie’s Tune (The Lovin’ Spoonful cover), Awhileaway, Feeling Low (Ernie Chaffin cover), Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind, Big Day Coming, Griselda (The Holy Modal Rounders cover), Ohm, Our Way to Fall / (Encore) Cast a Shadow (Beat Happening cover), Autumn Sweater, I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash cover)


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