Yo La Tengo at SWX in Bristol - review
‘They take quiet loud to another level’
and live on Freeview channel 276
Like all good evenings, this one started off with a reverse cow girl burger at Squeezed with the best fries in the universe - the perfect pre-gig meal before seeing New Jersey’s Indie Rockers at Yo La Tengo at SWX, as the band marked its newest releasee This Stupid World.
The first thing that surprised me on the night was that the band was, in fact, supporting itself. And with a poster saying ‘very quiet’, the band soon appeared on the stage and lit up the evening straight away with a whispering acoustic version of This Stupid World.
It was followed by cheers before the band moved seamlessly into Sinatra Drive Breakdown; the album’s opener. This gave us more of taste of what was to follow with crunching guitars over a steady bassline.
Hang on this isn’t quiet, I thought! And the crowd aren’t quiet? Which was great as nobody wants a silent gig, do they? Just as I thought this May She Might erupted with a drum beat like a firing squad and a jam session ensued much to the adoration of the crowd.
Ira Kaplan YLT’s front man’s first words were to acknowledge some fans from the Manchester show the night before who had ‘latched themselves’ to the railings as he dismissed the quite nature of tonight’s show by grinding his guitar against his knees with the amp in his arms.
Yo La Tengo are fluid with each member picking up each instrument up with ease. They take quiet loud to another level. Bass/keys player James McNew provides the bass and groove. Drummer/keys/singer/everything Georgia Hubley rose from behind the drums to strip it all back with a glistening version of I Feel Like Going Home song that transported me to lying in a summer festival field in the sun whilst in a dark room - quite a moment.
To the second set, I took to the balcony where I could feel the band had turned everything up a notch. I could literally feel it in my chest instantly. During Sudden Organ the keys screached and it all felt instantaneously experimental but controlled as McNew karate chops the keyboard then slides it along the keys.
The band then opened up the encore to the crowd to see what they wanted to hear. ‘Emulsified! Emulsified! Emulsified!’ a guy with the loadest voice in the room shouted! He got his wish as the band then launched into the Rex Garvin’s 60s Rock’n’Roll song, picking up the tempo and getting people dancing as Kaplin wailed and screamed Emulsified!
Then to the band’s choice with another cover this time of Love’s song A Message to Pretty . I was just behind the sound desk at this point and wondered where the sound tech was going as he jumped out of his seat in front of me? The next thing i knew hew was on stage for a perfectly(ish) executed whistling solo! Good times.