On February 4th, Yo La Tengo brought their Wheel of Fate? tour to Chicago’s legendary Metro for a night of genre-spanning rock and other surprises. On this tour, YLT has been selecting an audience member to spin a wheel set up on stage, and whatever the wheel landed on would be the first 45 minute set. Options included a set by the band’s garage rock alter-ego Condo Fucks, an audience Q&A known as ‘The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo’, ‘Sitcom Theater’ where YLT and crew would perform a classic sitcom and plenty of other goofy ideas.
On this night, the wheel landed on ‘Spinner’s Choice’, and the audience member chose Sitcom Theater. Shortly after, the famous bassline from Seinfeld pumped through the PA, and YLT’s Ira Kaplan came out and began reading the script for the classic The Chinese Restaurant episode. The band then read through the whole episode, even though a sizable portion of the audience had grown audibly restless. It was hilarious.
The set proper opened up with the mellow classics The Room Got Heavy and Autumn Sweater before getting into some of the feedback-drenched introspective noiserock that YLT is so great at. The evening was an excellent snapshot of the incredibly wide breadth of Yo La Tengo’s sound. From acoustic-based love songs through loud thrashing rock, YLT played every song to perfection. Opener Willian Tyler joined the band for Don’t Have to be So Sad, and lent a hand again later on a brilliant reworking of Neil Young’s classic For The Turnstiles.
Sitcom Theater: Seinfeld – The Chinese Restaurant
Set: The Room Got Heavy, Autumn Sweater, Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1), Stockholm Syndrome, The Weakest Part, Gentle Hour (Snapper cover), Don’t Have To Be So Sad (with William Tyler), Periodically Double Or Triple, Nothing To Hide, Sugarcube, Blue Line Swinger
Encore: Come On Up (Condo Fucks, The Rascals), For the Turnstiles (Neil Young cover) (with William Tyler), Griselda (The Holy Modal Rounders cover), Did I Tell You
Encore 2: Somebody’s In Love (Sun Ra cover)
READ ON for more of Joel’s photos from a unique YLT show…