During their expansive worldwide tour that consumed most of this year, Yo La Tengo tried an interesting concept: At every non-festival show, they would play the same song, “Ohm”, twice. The song would open the first, acoustic set, then pop up again somewhere in the middle of the noisier electric set that followed. It’s almost like they want to be sure we don’t miss the point. To paraphrase it, there is no point in resisting change.
Anyone who joined us for the band’s Hanukkah tradition at Maxwell’s last year, or in previous years, might well have nodded along to many of those lines from “Ohm” as they watched the band perched in front of the fanciful wooden forest on the much broader stage of the Bell House. Whether or not the band’s Hanukkah tradition survives, its spiritual home did not. The spirit at the Bell House on this first night contained both hope and regret. Even if that impossible-to-replicate intimacy of Maxwell’s was gone, even without the rotating cast of surprise opening acts and comedians and non-stop-wacky collaborations, we were still staring down four nights of sold-out shows by the ever-generous band, played to their hometown crowd. A band that, even as veterans go, came as road-tested as possible, arguably at the top of their powers.
Each of the four nights — each of which will be posted on this site in the coming days — followed the band’s tour-long acoustic/electric format, with only the Fade songs repeated (along with a few that cropped up as both acoustic and electric incarnations). Along with Ira’s hilarious banter during “Periodically Double or Triple”, the highlight of the acoustic portion was the cover of the Zombies’ “You Make Me Feel Good”, which made its only appearance of the tour. The electric set boasted the uncommonly played “Story of Jazz” and closed out on one of our favorite of the sprawling jam numbers, “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”. Anyone who didn’t expect YLT to pull something out of their hat for the encore by that point shouldn’t have given up hope so easily. Bruce Bennett of Brooklyn garage rockers The A-Bones parachuted in for an encore of three classic covers: The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”, The Flamin’ Groovies’ “Slow Death” (a 2013 debut) and Arthur Lee’s “Luci Baines”. The night closed on the quiet but hopeful coda of “Big Day Coming”, a song that echoed that message from “Ohm”. No need to lose time resisting the flow of change. These four nights of the holiday season were meant for celebration.
I recorded this set with a soundboard feed provided by the band’s longtime engineer Mark Luecke combined with Schoeps MK4V microphones. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!
Nights 2, 3 and 4 will be posted in the coming days. Thanks, as always, to Yo La Tengo, Mark and their incredible crew, and to Jesse Jarnow for the setlist.
Stream “You Make Me Feel Good” [The Zombies] from the acoustic set:
Stream “Slow Death” [Flamin’ Groovies] from the electric set:
Download the complete show [MP3] or [MP3] | [FLAC]
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Yo La Tengo
The Bell House
Brooklyn, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: Mark Luecke) + Schoeps MK4V (at SBD, PAS)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (noise reduction on acoustic SBD, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Setlist courtesy of Jesse Jarnow
Set 1 (acoustic) [Time: 46:16]
02 Two Trains
03 Periodically Double or Triple
05 You Make Me Feel Good [The Zombies]
06 The Point of It
07 Cornelia and Jane
08 I’ll Be Around
09 Black Flowers
Set 2 (electric) [Time: 1:32:07]
10 Stupid Things
11 We’re An American Band
12 Stockholm Syndrome
13 Super Kiwi
14 If It’s True
15 Before We Run
16 The Story of Jazz
17 Tom Courtenay
19 Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind
20 [encore break]
21 Can’t Seem To Make You Mine [The Seeds]*
22 Slow Death [Flamin’ Groovies]*
23 Luci Baines [Arthur Lee]*
25 Big Day Coming
* With Bruce Bennett of The A-Bones on guitar and vocals.