At first glance of the extensive assemblage of instruments on stage, one might assume indie rock trio Yo La Tengo is actually an octet. Prior to the show, murmurs among the crowd indicated many fans were attending both evenings of their two night stay at the Teragram Ballroom, solidifying LA’s contingent of the die hard, cult following the band has amassed of the years.
It was a seasoned crowd for a seasoned band (Ira Kaplan noted the band is so old Downtown LA didn’t exist when they started). Murmurs ceased in what became the quietest room inside which I’ve ever seen a concert. The level of respect shown for the delicately layered orchestration was impressive and reminiscent of that shown when seeing an actual orchestra. More impressive still was the ease with which the members of Yo La Tengo moved between instruments; James McNew from synth to sleigh bells to snare to electric bass to upright bass, Georgia Hubley from drum kit to keyboard or centerstage for vocals. Truly, a game of musical chairs. Songs from their 15th album (that’s not a typo), There’s a Riot Going On, brought a wash of dream-like ambience to the space. The slow undulation in the complex sonic landscape cast a net of tranquility catching everyone at the venue.
Photography & Words: Kirby Gladstein