Le Guess Who? Day Four: Destroyer, Lonnie Holley, Damien Jurado, and Yo La Tengo | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Yo La Tengo

Damien Jurado, Destroyer, Le Guess Who? 2013, Le Guess Who? 2013: Day Four, Lonnie Holley, Yo La Tengo

Le Guess Who? Day Four: Destroyer, Lonnie Holley, Damien Jurado, and Yo La Tengo, December 1st, 2013

Dec 05, 2013 Damien Jurado Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

You know how sometimes at a festival there’s an “off” day, where there just doesn’t seem to be any strong acts that you’re dying to see? Le Guess Who? doesn’t believe in lulls. The final day brought strong sets from Destroyer, Lonnie Holley, Damien Jurado, and Yo La Tengo. And a chance to drink spicy hot chocolate. (Hey, listening to music is thirsty work.)

The afternoon kicked off at Village Coffee, where Dutch website 3VOOR12 was hosting a series of video sessions. Among the performers was Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, who performed a solo acoustic set. It wasn’t shocking that the songs of his most recent release Five Spanish Songs translated well into a live setting. But the inclusion of “Downtown,” a song from his loungy long player Kaputt was a welcome acoustic surprise.

Later that evening at Trivoli, Lonnie Holley turned out to be one of the most interesting acts of the festival. A noted visual artist (So much in fact, that his Wikipedia page makes no mention of his musical endeavors), Holley also creates long winding songs that often play more like tone poems than traditional songs. His musings about life, death, love, and everywhere in between play out against an improvised synth line. The result is a set that felt equal parts weird and wise—but never anything less than intriguing.

Damien Jurado took the stage with a guitar and a confession—he had been awake for over twenty-four hours. While clearly struggling to make a meaningful connection with reality, the Seattle, Washington troubadour didn’t let his exhaustion affect his music. His dark songs unspoiled with a simple grace, particularly those from his forthcoming album, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son.

The visual artist in residence, Jurado also mentioned his gallery of pop art upstairs. “That art is more me than my music,” he admitted. “Which is a good thing. If this was more me, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be in an institution back home pretending to play a concert.”

Closing out the evening were headliners Yo La Tengo. The indie veterans were well suited the venue, having first performed there in the late 80s. Like nearly everyone else at the festival, they took a moment to compliment the well-curated lineup, joking “We didn’t get to see anything. Noted perfectionists, we loaded in at 7am, and finished building the stage right before doors.”

Although on tour to promote this year’s (excellent) album Fade, Yo La Tengo have never been ones for straightforward promotion. While songs from the release were mixed into the set (most notably the hushed “Ohm”) the bulk of the set was culled from the trio’s extensive back catalogue—ranging from the fabulously noisy (“The Story of “Yo La Tengo”) to the slinky (“Nothing But You and Me”). Not that the uneducated fan would be instantly able to recognize the hits. Perhaps one of the tightest touring bands working today, Yo La Tengo isn’t afraid of messing with (near) perfection—improvising and changing things up to the point where songs scarcely resemble their original forms.

The set closed with “Speeding Motorcycle.” Going out on a high note, the band invited Michael Chapman and Glenn Jones to join them on stage. The expanded band ripped through the Daniel Johnston cover, performing with equal parts reverence and humor—a description that doubles as a description of their cataloged as a whole.

And with that, my time in Holland came to a close. A huge thank you to the festival coordinators, artists, and everyone who went out of their way to make sure I had a great time in Utrecht. If I had even a small amount of musical ability I’d be singing your praises to our children and our children’s children. But as no one seems to appreciate my attempts at karaoke, my attempts at gratitude will simply have to remain in the written form. Dank je wel!

Check out a gallery of day four photos here.







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