Last Night: Yo La Tengo at Fitzgerald's
It's such a treat to see a band like Yo La Tengo perform at a club the size of Fitzgerald's, and that was clear during their headlining set on Thursday night. Sure, they play to hundreds more people at most of their other gigs, but anyone in attendance - including the band - could tell you we were the lucky ones.
We all knew headed into the show, billed as "An Evening With Yo La Tengo," was going to be a full dose of the New Jersey-based genre-bending trio. What wasn't known was how much the crowd was going to eat it up. The mostly thirtysomething audience featured more sets of glasses than I've ever seen at a show. These were music nerds in the best way imaginable.
Ira Kaplan, his wife Georgia Hubley and longtime bassist/auxiliary drummer James McNew proved that no matter what they brought to the incredibly attentive Houston crowd, it would be accepted wholeheartedly by everyone in the room.
When the band started the evening off in an acoustic format, the growing audience knew they were in for one hell of an evening. While chatty crowds have been a thorn in Houston's collective side, this evening was something different. Both Yo La Tengo and those witnessing the set were so quiet that the loudest sound in the building during the first set was the crash of a bottle hitting the bottom of a trash can.
It was actually quite the sight to be seen. If anyone has been to a club gig in Houston, they know how loud we can be. It felt almost as if I were combing the halls of a gallery, an art exhibit where the main attraction was Kaplan, Hubley and McNew.
Yo La Tengo have such a storied career, with Kaplan and Hubley playing music as a husband/wife duo since 1984 (only one year after this writer was born) and, with the addition of McNew, as a trio since the early '90s. They have released a catalog that rivals several of the greatest bands of our time, and have ridden a wave of critical success for many, many years.