2/7: Yo La Tengo @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Yo la Tengro performs during the second, more electric set at the Beachland this past Thursday, Feb. 7. The band is on tour promoting their latest album Fade, which was released Jan. 15. Photo courtesy Cleveland Scene
Few bands have had a run longer than the seminal indie rock act Yo La Tengo. Last Thursday evening, Feb. 7, they made a stop at the legendary Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Cleveland's Waterloo Arts District. During their nearly three decade career, the trio from Hoboken, N.J. have demonstrated what some call an effortless consistency and are a perennial critic's favorite.
Yo La Tengo formed in 1984 as a husband/wife duo of Ira Kaplan on vocals and guitar, and Georgia Hubley as the drummer and principal songwriter. A few line-up changes later, James McNew was added to the roster on bass beginning with the "That Is Yo La Tengo" EP in 1991 and officially with 1993's "Painful."
Early on they cut their teeth as a band playing covers and have maintained that tradition on records and in concert with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of classics new and old, trotted out to entertain fans all over the world.
This new year brings a new record and a new tour for Yo La Tengo also a new producer: John McEntire of the bands Tortoise and The Sea and Cake who produced "Fade" in his Chicago studio.
"We've known John a long time," said Kaplan on "The Switch." "And when the thought of doing something with him came up, everybody just looked at each other and thought, 'Yeah, that's a good idea.' And luckily McEntire, who is an extremely busy person, had room in his schedule, and it just all came together."
The show was a good showcase mixing both the new album and their previous albums of the past 30 years.
The first set was laid-back, while the second involved a more energetic follow-up with a comfortable mix that involved striped down, acoustic versions. Ranging from "Is that Enough" to a Times New Viking cover "Move to California," the first set became an intimate concert for the sold-out crowd.
But it wasn't until the second set where the band came to their fuzz-loving roots. Including two tracks ("Before We Run" and "Ohm") from their newest album back-to-back, the band affirmed their mark as indie rock legends.
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