Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Friday, October 13, 2006

Yo La Tengo Plays Salt Lake City

Yo La Tengo played SLC last night at the venue formerly known as Bricks (aka, the WORST venue in the western hemisphere), presently known as In the Venue (still understood to be the most reliably half-witted venue in the city) or maybe Club Sound, as the signage suggests. Despite the venue’s best efforts to ruin the show (lights going out in the middle of the set, misspelling the band’s name on the marquee, no publicity, etc.), the band was absolutely fantastic. In fact, the lighting fiasco during the 15+ minutes of ‘Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind’, actually made for an experience like unto a David Lynch dream sequence by the sheer will and performance of the band. Georgia’s drumming, eerily lit by moon and street light pouring through a window, took on a strobe-like power-pulse that thrashed around James’ steady groove (and good humor – he started to laugh, not for the last time) and Ira’s blissful dirge of reverb and feedback. Complimenting this were the kitchy melodies and sweet sincerity of tracks like ‘The Weakest Part’ and ‘Mr. Tough’, both off their latest and most lovably titled album, ‘I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.’ OK. So the comparison to David Lynch is probably unfair, since Yo La Tengo replaces the aberrant horror with a wall of sound that could be emanating from a jet engine looped through fuzz pedals and shot with amped-up feedback. No, despite the fact that my diaphragm shook and my fillings bled, there was no horror in the show. Only brilliance.

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