Mar 15, 2014

Yo La Tengo @ Sydney Opera House

Yo La Tengo have been around forever. Fact. Yo La Tengo are an American marvel. Fact. Yo La Tengo are pretty great. Fact. Thursday night I got to see them again at the Sydney Opera House. It was an absolute pleasure. This set was a bit different though. Split into two halves. Quiet and loud. The quiet set was just Ira, James and Georgia huddled at the front of the stage. Mainly with Ira and James playing acoustic guitars. Georgia just on a snare drum. A couple of songs on piano. On a few songs Ira would switch to electric guitar. But it was all quiet and subdued. Allowing the songs of beauty to shine. Gorgeous melodies and varied guitar tones. A real delight. Especially the opening song "Ohm" and the truly majestic "Cornelia And Jane" with Georgia shining on lead vocal. This band's songs are so varied, defying any genre or category. It always make a live experience a great exercise for the ears.

After a 20 minute interval the band returned to give it to us loud. And loud it was. The first set managed to draw mainly on their 2013 album in "Fade", but this set was a stroll through their enormous catalogue. Songs were turned up and twisted and turned and elongated. Jam sessions were breaking out everywhere. It was certainly very impressive although I would say I enjoyed the quiet set a little more. After rapturous applause Yo La Tengo returned for a short encore with the last two songs being beautiful renditions that were mellow and sublime. Georgia led the way with "Tom Courtenay" and closing song "Griselda" was a sheer delight. Yo La Tengo might never make big waves in the music scene, but rest assured they are truly essential and always a pleasure to see live. 

Set List
Is That Enough
Nothing To Hide
The Point Of It
Cornelia And Jane
I'll Be Around
Big Day Coming

Stupid Things
Moby Octopad
Little Eyes
Super Kiwi
Stockholm Syndrome
Before We Run
False Alarm
From A Motel 6
Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind

Slow Down
Tom Courtenay

Mar 4, 2014

Neko Case @ Sydney Opera House

That voice. Yes, it's that voice that elevates Neko Case to a higher plain. Her spirit. Her strength. It's a rare commodity. Dare I say it, it's unique. Well it truly is. Monday night at the Sydney Opera House was a clear and direct statement of the talent of Neko. She was in awe of the building she was playing in, but I say we were in awe of you Ms Case.

This night gained momentum as it soared to its thrilling end. It felt subdued for the first couple of numbers. Maybe because Neko was concerned with the sound. I think she was put off by the large theatre with its high ceiling. It sounded perfect to us but it seemed to distract her. But when she picked up her guitar and strode into "The Tigers Have Spoken" all bets were off. The impossibly perfect "Maybe Sparrow" consolidated the night ahead and there was no turning back. Save for not playing "Middle Cyclone" it was nearly a perfect set list. Something from nearly every album and therefore basically something for every one. Even a song that Neko wrote for "The Hunger Games". I was really stoked to hear "Favorite" but the absolute highlight was the breath taking "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu". Just Neko and Kelly Hogan going alone, flooring every single one of us with this stunning song. Hogan has for a long time been a great running mate for Neko. Not only is she a great singer in her own right but she could easily take up a job as a comedian. A very funny lady. In fact all of the band is flat out great. Stalwart Jon Rauhouse does everything and it was a surprise and a delight to see that Eric Bachmann (Archers of Load, Crooked Fingers) now tours with Neko. They all came together beautifully to pound out set closer "Man" which naturally led to a well received and enraptured encore. Neko please never tire of gracing Sydney with your presence.

Set List
Bracing For Sunday
This Tornado Loves You
Lion's Jaws
The Tigers Have Spoken
Maybe Sparrow
City Swan
Local Girl
That Teenage Feeling
Nothing To Remember
The Pharaohs
People Got A Lotta Nerve
Nearly Midnight, Honolulu
Set Out Running
Red Tide
Calling Cards
Hold On, Hold On
Night Still Comes

I Wish I Was The Moon

Star Witness