KUSF managed to get one of my favorite bands to play one of my favorite venues for their 30th anniversary fundraiser. Yo La Tengo, one of the best cover bands around, and guest star Jonathan Segal of Camper Van Beethoven, did justice to hits from the year KUSF was founded.
They started out loud and strong with 'Sheena’s a Punk Rocker,' almost made me like Fleetwood Mac with their interpretation of 'Dreams,' performed a searing version of David Bowie’s 'Heroes,' and as tribute to the late, great Arthur Lee, who we were lucky enough to see a couple years ago on that very same stage, did a tender and straightforward rendition of Love's 'Message to Pretty.'
In between the covers and Ira good-naturedly making fun of KUSF by insisting that it was the KROQ anniversary show, the band played songs from their own extensive catalog -- including 'Big Day Coming,' 'Barnaby, Hardly Working' and one of my recent favorites, the Smokey Robinsonesque ‘Mr. Tough’ -- making for an almost perfect show (after we explained to the loud trio next to us that we, shockingly, we’re there to listen to the show and not to hear them talk about their plans for after the show in between shouting repeatedly 'this show is great. yeee hah.')
With just 3 talented and versatile musicians, Yo La Tengo proved once again that they can play it as loud, soulful or funky as the best of them, and they still do it with the joy, intensity and lack of pretense as kids in a garage covering songs by their favorite bands, which is what makes them so much fun to watch. yeee hah.
posted Sep 09, 2007