by Dan Bolles
So, Yo La Tengo played last night at Higher Ground. And by the look of it, most of you were there. This of course spares me from having to chew you out for bitching about the perceived dearth of indie music at the area's marquee juke joint and then not showing up when they deliver the goods. So, um … gold star for you!
For those who didn't go, Yo la Tengo were … well, they were Yo La Fucking Tengo. How do you think they were? There is a reason those guys (and gal) are legends. They rocked. Hard.
But for me — and several bewildered folks I spoke with during and after the show — the night belonged to Yura Yura Teikoku, a Tokyo-based psych-rock trio that opened the show. Sweet holy hell. They might be my new favorite band. I even bought a CD at the show, which I rarely do — mostly because I typically already have CDs sent to me from bands playing shows at HG. And also 'cuz I'm cheap.
This is a terrible — and borderline offensive — description of their sound, but the thought that ran through my mind during their set was, "if the Vacant Lots and the Fatal Flaws had an androgynous Japanese baby, he would probably start a band like YYT." Like I said, terrible description. But yesterday was a crazy long and exhausting day and that's what I got. Deal.
Anyway, as my girlfriend put it, "This might be the most interesting band I've ever seen." I'm not so sure I can disagree with Plus One's admittedly hyperbolic assessment. They had me from moshi moshi, delivering a blistering set of sweetly cacophonous psych and filthy ass garage rock. Plus, I couldn't understand a damn thing they were singing about, since no one in the band speaks more than three words of English. But the language barrier somehow made the experience even better. YYT truly speaks the "international language." Rock.
Here's a vid from a show last year at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It doesn't quite capture the thrill of seeing them live. But it's a decent appetizer — click on the link to their MySpace page above to get a cleaner sampling of their tunes.
If you have the chance, I'm officially requiring you see Yura Yura Teikoku in person. You won't regret it. (NYC readers: they're playing this Friday at MH of W.)