Yo La Tengo have a tradition of playing eight shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ–their hometown–on the eight nights of Hannukah every year. The shows usually feature special guests and great openers and this year’s shows were no different. Openers included the dBs and the New Pornographers and special guests like Eugene Mirman showed up to make the audience laugh.
I have been wanting to attend on of these infamous shows for years and last night I finally got the chance. Thankfully, Yo La Tengo and friends did not disappoint. Openers Times New Viking (love the font name play), who have their first album coming out with Matador in 2008, started off the evening with some friendly pop punk to get everyone bouncing.
Next, Ira Kaplan from Yo La Tengo introduced his “dear friend and Rabbi”, Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, who turned out to be none other than David Cross (of my favorite TV show Arrested Development) in “Rabbi-drag”–black coat, black hat, biiig black beard. He took questions from the audience about Judaism, like “what’s the deal with circumcision,” and answered them hilariously and brilliantly. The crowd was laughing nonstop, and ready for the joy to continue with the beloved Yo La Tengo.
The group started out with one of their more atmospheric songs, “Night Falls on Hoboken,” but quickly jumped into more upbeat tunes like “Double Dare,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” and the rarely played “Paul Is Dead.” They ended with an elongated “Love Power,” whose lyrics were modified by Ira who began shouting/singing about how beautiful the candles on the menorah were.
For their encore the group was joined by Howard Kaylan of The Turtles, who sang with them on Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and various other covers, including The Turtles’ “You Baby (Nobody But You)” and T.Rex’s “Metal Guru.” Kaylan looked very happy to be on stage with Yo La Tengo, and they looked very happy to have him there. All in all, a great last night of Hannukah!
Click on the links to see pictures from the show!