Review: Yo La Tengo

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 11:12 17/03/2014
Yo La Tengo
YO LA TENGO: Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew.

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Yo La Tengo

Opera House, March 15

For nearly 30 years, New Jersey's Yo La Tengo has been making quiet/loud pop music that sits outside and away from the charts. It seems to swirl up from a bottomless set of influences, free music and atonality as crucial as the classic pop melodies from The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

Any Yo La Tengo concert has moments of heart-aching beauty wrung from both the quiet and the loud bits. But for this show, part of a tour in support of the band's most recent album, Fade, we had most of the quiet moments separated out into a lullaby-lush first half.

The Zappa-meets-Ween-to discuss-Sonic-Youth-and-Flying- Nun electric second half was such a surge of wakeup calls it suggested one version of the band played the opening act, almost foxing, before the "real" version delivered the knockout main set.

For all the loveliness in the ever-so-slightly off-kilter harmonies and the surprising folkish twists to the acoustic half of the evening, it did get a little too dreamy.

So the powerhouse finale was the real winner.

We also stopped in on fan-favourite albums Fakebook (1990), Painful (1993) and I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997), and there were covers, including a song for Chris Knox.

The encore featured a surprising and wonderful cover of Adam & The Ants' new-romantic/post- punk stomper, Antmusic.

Ira Kaplan's guitar was throttled and strangled as if he was wrestling with a hose on a summer lawn - from it spilled a gush of beautiful-ugly noises as James McNew stood rock-solid weaving melodic bass lines in and around the tumbling toms and rainwater ride cymbal pulse from Georgia Hubley.

Their left-of-mainstream legend continues.

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- The Dominion Post

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