In my feature on Yo La Tengo from last week's paper, I noted the band's "quiet confidence." The first of the band's two sets at the Georgia Theatre last night was a prime example. Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew have been playing together for so long, their onstage chemistry is a thing of beauty; the group's opening "quiet set" found them easing through songs from its most recent album, Fade, love-drunk tunes like "The Point of It" and "I'll Be Around."
The band's tender side gave way to guitar dynamism in the raucous second set, which included classics like "Shaker" and "Sugarcube," but again leaned heavily on Fade. The "loud" version of "Ohm" sounded particularly meaty. The jaunty "Beanbag Chair" (from 2006's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass) provided what was arguably an unnecessary moment of pop levity.
After the gorgeous but subdued first set, the crowd was itching to rock, and rock it did, Kaplan switching guitars between each song—sometimes in the middle of a song—and proving yet again his complete mastery of the instrument as rock and roll weapon. Kaplan switched to the Farfisa and McNew joined Hubley on the drums for "Let's Save Tony Orlando." Alas, "Autumn Sweater" was nowhere to be found.
But this is Yo La Tengo, a band that has thousands of minutes of music to cull from on any given night, most of it incredible. My wife wanted "Blue Line Swinger"; I wanted "Cherry Chapstick." We knew they weren't likely to play either. We were more than satisfied with what we got.
And to my knowledge, no record store clerks were harmed.