Veteran indie three-piece Yo La Tengo was back in the Main Room playing two lengthy sets in support of their new album, There’s a Riot Going On, that was released on March 16th of this year through Matador Records. Their first set was over an hour long and was comprised entirely of slower and quieter material. It was a bold move but they were able to keep the crowd engaged enough to stick around for the second, much more energetic, set.
They took the stage without any introduction, but after the first few songs guitarist & vocalist Ira Kaplan finally took a moment to say hello. After making fun of the fact that the show next door at the 7th St. Entry was clearly audible from our side of the building, he went on to mention that their next song was one they had never played in the Entry, “so I guess you could say it is a ‘Main Room’ debut.” Pretty neat.
Toward the back of the hall, Yo La Tengo was fighting against the band next door for the ears of the crowd, but no one seemed to mind as they finished out their set with “Here You Are,” off their newest album.
With a fifteen minute break between sets, we were able to refuel and get re-situated for the significant increase in tempo and volume. For some, this may have been a much-needed jump in energy to keep them locked in; but for me, it seemed to be a natural way to block out their two sets. They started off their second set with a live debut of the acoustic psychedelic sounding “Dream Dream Away,” again an offering from their newest album. Then they exploded into “Sudden Organ” off of their 1993 album Painful. This high energy, organ shredded song set the tempo for the rest of the second set.
After another seven or so songs Yo La Tengo closed off the set with the ten-minute jam “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” off the 2006 release I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, only to return with a three-song encore consisting of Dead C and Hank Williams covers, and the final song by audience request “Our Way to Fall” off the classic And the Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.
After 30 years of consistent and classic albums, Yo La Tengo are truly indie rock Gods and a must-see for any music lover. This evening with them was no exception. Our congratulations to them on the new album and we hope to have them back in the Twin Cities again soon!