Tuesday 27.10.2015 – Heimathafen Neukölln – Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo is a band that can equally play everything. Their records are a mixture of dream pop and experimental noise rock combined with garage rock dynamites and folk ballads. And that’s a big challenge. In an ideal case scenario a set list should be balanced in order to satisfy the crowd. First some quiet songs, then some noisy. Some quiet again some noise afterwards. If you decide not to do that you should compromise with the idea that your crowd may become bored. And that’s what happened.
Yo La Tengo’s world heritage in the so-called indie rock scene is without any doubt priceless
Yo La Tengo decided to do a whole tour based on acoustic covers, which sounds interesting as an idea, but the result was rather disheartening. Yo La Tengo’s world heritage in the so-called indie rock scene is without any doubt priceless. “Painful” is a record that should be stored in a capsule and sent to space in order for the aliens to see what kind of music humanity is able to make and of course enjoy it. It’s been a long time since then though, but Yo La Tengo never gave a sign that they might run out of ideas.
I didn’t want to believe that YLT are recycling unremarkable ideas by releasing a record full of covers just like they did 25 years ago
Even their earliest release, “Stuff Like That There” sounded to me like a refreshed sequel of the 90’s classic “Fakebook”. For some reason I didn’t want to believe that YLT are recycling unremarkable ideas by releasing a record full of covers just like they did 25 years ago, but after this live I am almost sure that one of my favorite bands might not be able to deliver fresh music any longer. It’s not that I had great expectations from that night, I was sure that after some point I would get tired, as I did, but I really wanted to see how the rest of their fans would react. To be honest I was expecting more people to leave by the end of the first half, the fact that many stayed explains why YLT are a great band, even when they are not playing great music.
The set list was just too long
The set list was just too long. YLT played almost 30 songs with a 15-minute break in between the first and the second set. I would have enjoyed it more if we were seated during the gig, because obviously, such long acoustic sets make the audience to get tired after a point. It’s really worth it though to have a look at the original songs that Yo La Tengo chose to cover. Besides the fact that the selection proves YLT’s inside-out knowledge of pop history, all of them are beautiful songs that might be had forgotten without YLT’s effort to include them in their records and their set lists. Special Pillow’s, Cure’s, Daniel Johnston’s and Sun Ra’s songs were covered among others with Yo La Tengo’s special way of making them sound unmistakably like Yo La Tengo. No need to mention that the sound and the production were excellent and Heimathafen is one of the most beautiful venues in Berlin.
“Nineties indie rock was the sound of ’80s hardcore kids growing up”
As Stuart Berman wrote for Pitchfork once “Nineties indie rock was the sound of ’80s hardcore kids growing up”. I think that Yo La Tengo got mature enough and forgot their hardcore roots. Maybe they are lost somewhere in their artistic maturity. What I missed the most in this very last concert was not nice music, there was plenty of it. I really missed YLT’s emblematic noisy distorted pop. Hope I will be able to enjoy it for a last time, someday in the future…