Yo La Tengo
The Orange Peel
The Orange Peel
There was nearly a fight at a Yo La Tengo show. It never would have come to blows, but there was definitely some chest puffing and angry jostling for a particular piece of real estate not far from the stage. Fittingly, one of the guys was a middle-aged, overweight, bearded man who likely is a brewmaster at one of Asheville's 45,772 breweries, and the other was wearing a scarf and surely worked as a barista. I wonder if anyone wearing a scarf has ever actually got into a fight? Seems like you would be giving your opponent a pretty good weapon to use against you and choke you out. Anyways...
I was up in the mountains to see the family anyways, so it was fortuitous that I actually looked at the calendar and saw Yo La Tengo would be appearing at the Orange Peel after performing at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville the night before. I had never been to the Orange Peel before (a couple of Morrissey cancellations were my only other attempts) - nice venue, good sound...like a wider and shallower Cats' Cradle maybe. It was just them, no openers, and they played one acoustic set, took a break, and then played an electric set. The acoustic set was made up mostly of songs from their most recent record "Stuff Like That There," and I was glad to finally see some of that material live; when they passed through the Triangle last Fall after that record came out, I had a newborn baby and couldn't make it. For the electric portion of the evening, they included three of my favorite songs: "Tom Courtenay," "Sugarcube," and "Ohm," as well as an encore of Half Japanese's "No More Beatlemania" and some sort of double drum funk cover that involved the word motherfucker being used repetitively.
I know it's the old person in me, but I'd love it if more bands took this route of playing shows by themselves sans opening acts. In the case of Yo La Tengo (or Low earlier in the year who had the same approach), getting to see more of the headliner you actually want to see is always a better option. Hell, even if the band didn't want to play longer and only played their normal set, that still seems better than slogging through most openers. Okay, I'm going to return to yelling at clouds and telling stories about wearing an onion on my belt now, at least until Yo La Tengo comes back through town.