(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Yo La Tengo — one of the most celebrated and adventurous bands in rock history — returns to MASS MoCA for two acoustic concerts on Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8, both at 8:30pm. The unassuming, self-effacing trio featuring husband-and-wife singer-songwriters Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley and longtime drummer James McNew has been making influential, below-the-radar music for three-dozen years, maintaining an ardent cult fan base and support from both critics and peers.
Yo La Tengo’s sound extends from gentle, simmering indie-pop to breezy cocktail jazz, twanged-out country-rock, and extended experiments in skronking feedback and beyond. The group last performed at MASS MoCA in 2007.
Reviewing Yo La Tengo in 2016, I wrote, “Yo La Tengo is at least two bands in one, although one could probably make the case that it’s many more. But the group itself provided the neat and tidy shorthand, beginning the concert with a gentle, whispery, timeless acoustic set, followed by a riotous, loud, feedback-drenched set of vintage 1980s noise-rock.
“The standing-room-only crowd was nearly hypnotized by the dreamy melodies and haunting vocals during the opening set, in which band members deftly traded off instruments, but mostly featuring Ira Kaplan on acoustic guitar, Georgia Hubley on drums played with brushes, and James McNew on double bass. All three musicians took turns on lead vocals, often harmonizing, with Kaplan’s softly singing like Paul Simon, McNew like Neil Young, and Hubley like, well, like Hubley herself.”