Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yo La Tengo, The Sea & Cake Kick off Maxwell's Hanukkah Shows

Yo La Tengo kicked off its annual Eight Nights of Hanukkah run at Maxwell's with a rousing show on Tuesday, despite recent health concerns for frontman Ira Kaplan. As always, the night included a surprise opening act (on this night, Chicago's The Sea and Cake) as well as special guests joining YLT on stage.

(Apologies for the poor photo quality; the place was packed and I was stuck in the back of the room.) 
Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, during the first night of the band's Hanukkah shows.

The Sea and Cake kicked things off at 8:30 with a one-hour set, followed by standup comedians Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser, who pretended to be the sons (both named Dave) of actors Dennis Farina and Dennis Franz.

Yo La Tengo took the stage at 11 p.m., with Kaplan playing seated, as he mentioned he would be in his post on the band's website. (He mentioned that he "had a pretty serious health scare earlier this month," but doesn't delve into the nature of it in the post. And he didn't mention it at all on Tuesday.  The website does say that he is "well on the way to recovery.")

Georgia Hubley steps out from behind the drum kit to sing lead vocals.

 The trio was joined on stage by Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, who played the entire show with YLT. (Later in the set came guest appearances by several members of The Sea and Cake: Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, and John McEntire.) McCaughan in particular was great addition, adding continuity throughout the set, and he and the other guests help fill out the sound of Yo La Tengo's songs.

For a more detailed description of Tuesday's show (and some much better photos), see the official Yo La Tengo Hanukkah diary post by Liz Clayton.

Yo La Tengo left the stage shortly before 12:30, so it was an almost four-hour show (minus about an hour for changeovers between acts). Considering the quality of Yo La Tengo's concerts and the high caliber of guests they usually get, this show is definitely one I plan to catch at least one night of in future years.

Chicago's The Sea and Cake opened Tuesday's show.

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