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Tuesday, April 15th, 2003

The Hour Grows Late

Elvis Costello is back in town at the Hummingbird Centre on July 2. A little pricey and I saw him last year – albeit a fantastic show – so I will probably pass.

I will NOT be passing on Wilco at the Kool Haus on June 20, though. Booyaka.

So long bloody show last night. My legs and back are killing me – standing for four and a half hours will topple even the sturdiest of punters. I don’t feel like getting too in-depth, so I’ll keep the reviews sorta brief.

Daniel Johnston is a strange, strange man. He’s a mentally ill folksinger with a devoted cult following including Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Sparklehorse. People seemed pretty excited that he was in town, and I was mostly just curious. Picture a fat, disheveled man pounding frenetically on a classical guitar and singing simple little songs about love in an erratic voice. He displayed a little more prowess on the keyboards, but overall, it was a curious spectacle. He played for about a half hour.

Portastatic plugged in impressed. Mac McCaughan is a helluva guitar player – I’ve never seen Superchunk live, but his “quieter” (a very relative term) act still rocks out pretty hard. I liked them well enough to want to find their non-soundtrack stuff. I would have bought one of the CDs at the show, but I was already out of cash from buying a YLT t-shirt and a copy of The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science (purchased from Ira, again. Any band at their level that still sells their own merch deserves your respect).

Yo La Tengo. I think I have to be in the proper mood to appreciate them live. There’s no question they’re exceptional musicians, but the long drawn-out jams get tiresome, especially if you’ve been standing for hours already. Since they drew mainly from Summer Sun, the straight-ahead tunes were at a minumum to begin with. They trotted out some of the chestnuts in the encore, but the main set – all two hours of it – was dominated by jams and noisefests. The set time also came from the fact that no one played the same instrument in consecutive songs, and I do have to say, wandering around the stage wondering what to play next looks like fun. Their extended four-drummer version of Sun Ra’s “Nuclear War” (It’s a motherfucker!) was fun, but much of it crossed the line into self-indulgence. And, of course, they did an encore of “Speeding Motorcycle” with Daniel Johnston on vocals. But when the second encore ended and the house lights came on, I was more than happy to boot it out the door and home to bed. Love the band, but they may have worked themselves off of my “must-see-whenever-in-town-always” list.

np – Yo La Tengo / The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science

By : Frank Yang at 12:02 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Garry T. says:

    Hey – what do you think of the YLT instrumental release (Sounds of Science)?

  2. alex says:

    i know what you mean about ylt being a little boring live. it was similar when i saw them on the "and then nothing" tour. they didn’t rock and mainly played the lovely but very calm album. it would have been better for the public not to stand but to sit like in a classical concert. the next time i saw them which was last year they played a mixed set with slow songs and rockers like "blue line swinger". it was a great concert. i will of course go to see them in frankfurt in may.

  3. Frank says:

    Sounds Of Science is background music – it’s a soundtrack, after all. It’s pleasant and interesting, but not essential. I only bought it because it was half the price of Soundscapes and my collector mentality kicked in.

    I think I would have been happier if I’d had a chance to see YLT live during their more rockin’ phase – on tour for <i>Electr-O-Pura</i> or <i>I Can Hear The Heart</i>. I guess I got on the wagon a little late, in that sense, and have only gotten to see them in their later, more sedate phase. Oh well.

  4. Garry T. says:

    Sounds Of Science only bares two good tracks: One and Two (forgot their names…Sea Urchins and….something-er-other). The rest of the CD is obviously off-tangent and requires a visual aid to make sense of what’s going on.