Acoustic vs. Electric: A Yo La Tengo Review

Mary Zech ’17, Arts Editor

I walked into this concert knowing only one song from this indie band, and I had no idea what to expect. The performance was intimate, taking place in the small Fairfield Theatre Company. It was unlike any other concert I have ever been to. They didn’t even turn on the amp until the second set. As a result, this unorthodox performance started off with very soft vocals and warm energy. The lyrics were very hard to hear over the instruments, but I could still enjoy the vocalist pitch. Standing in the back by the stairs, I could barely hear the singing and was forced to focus solely on the instrumentals. They started with an acoustic version of “My Heart’s Not in It,” a Darlene McCrea cover. They continued with, “Awhileaway,” “Black Flowers,” and “Play Video.” It was a slow beginning, and I hope they would pick up the pace once the amps were plugged.  


Although this was a new concert experience, I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to hear them over the drums. This problem was fixed in the second set when the amp was turned on, bringing a whole new edge to Yo La Tengo. Before the break, a somber rendition of, “4th Time Around,” by Bob Dylan was played in remembrance of with whom someone they had worked. It was a beautiful tribute. At this point I was pressed right up against the stage, and I almost wish I wasn’t.The audience was made of of an older hipster crowd, sprinkled with some students from Fairfield University.
In spite of the hushed vocals,The band’s radically experimental guitarist was a show in and of itself. His violent movements against his electric guitar combined with the random clamor of instruments made for a stark contrast from the start of the show. However, the sudden electronic music did the audience. They swayed and bobbed their heads to the loud keyboard the same as they had during soft percussion. Overall, I found that Yo La Tengo is embodies the spunk of the Velvet Underground and the softness of Nico. As I left with a happy heart filled with new music, I realized that I never heard the one song that I had already known. Regardless, Yo La Tengo was a totally different experience and I completely recommend for a chill night out.


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