Yo La Tengo | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Yo La Tengo 

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High-profile outdoor festivals rarely bring out a band's adventurous side; even the Didjits, who were plenty obnoxious at Touch and Go's shindig a few weeks back, seemed like they were just giving the people what they wanted. But Yo La Tengo one-upped everybody at this July's Pitchfork fest by raining on the prevailing summer-barbecue vibe. Instead of serving up the requisite set of old favorites and typically witty cover tunes, the trio opened with a ten-minute feedback jam and proceeded to play nothing but songs from a record that wasn't out yet. That polarizing move exemplifies the attitude that pervades the record in question, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, which just came out on Matador; the way they mix light, piano-driven pop, garagey rave-ups, and a Suicide-like feel-bad groove, you get the feeling they're out to please nobody but themselves. That's not to say the record lacks songs that'll wind up on future fave lists; "The Race Is On Again," a graceful 12-string excursion, is one of the loveliest things they've ever done, and "Mr. Tough" is an ingratiating disco goof reminiscent of Marvin Gaye. Why? opens. a 8 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $23.50, 18+.


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