Yo La Tengo @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City, NJ, June 9, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City, NJ, June 9, 2023,

Jun 14, 2023 Photography by Matthew Berlyant Web Exclusive
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A Yo La Tengo show anywhere is a treat, but a Yo La Tengo show in their former stomping grounds of Hudson County (White Eagle Hall is just outside of downtown Jersey City, several PATH stops away from their longtime base of Hoboken, though now they are all in NYC) is a special treat and any opportunity to see them there should not be passed up. As evidence of this, they played two full sets, opening with several songs from their latest album, 2023’s This Stupid World, the title track and “Sinatra Drive Breakdown,” a funny Hoboken reference and also one of the LP’s best tracks. The first set also featured a cover of The Kinks’ “Oklahoma, U.S.A.”(also on 1990’s covers album Fakebook) and “Black Flowers” from 2006’s also amusingly-titled I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.

The second set started slowly and quietly with a gorgeous, slowed-down piano-driven version of “Big Day Coming,” one of the highlights from 1993’s Painful. The set continued in the same vein through a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and featured Ira Kaplan on piano once again for perennial catalogue hit “Autumn Sweater.” However, by the time the set winded down with another perennial favourite (“Sugarcube” from 1997’s I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One) followed by a few more noisy stunners (“Decora” and set-closer “I Heard You Looking”) culminating with Ira ringing as much noise and feedback out of his guitar as possible, there was no question that they came to rock as well.

And in addition to all of this, this north Jersey appearance featured another north Jersey legend, Glenn Mercer of The Feelies sitting in with them on guitar for the entire encore. And what an encore it was, featuring Rolling Stones (“Connection”), Tom Verlaine (“Breakin’ in My Heart”) and Velvet Underground (“Sunday Morning”) covers. It should also be noted that whereas many encores seem forced, this one seemed just a bit more real as the crowd was just rapturous as we kept yelling for more following the second set.


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