September 15, 2013

Yo La Tengo at the State Theatre

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If someone told me a band composed of a husband and wife team that’s been together for 30 years was playing a show in the Commons, I’d likely assume we were dealing with some fey, folksy act straight out of Portlandia’s Quiet Music Festival. And for the first part of what turned out to be quite a long evening with indie rock institution Yo La Tengo at The State Theatre on Friday night, that sort of assumption would have been validated. Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew began the night with a low-key acoustic set, including a chilled-out cover of Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles” and the band’s classic, movie star-referencing “Tom Courtenay.” Any present skeptics would surely be lamenting the loss of indie rock’s balls: Dainty tunes with sung “bah bah bahs” are, admittedly, fairly twee-seeming.

Forty minutes later, Ira Kaplan is defying gravity, swinging his guitar around like Thurston Moore’s slightly less careless cousin as he searches for the perfect feedback frequency with which to embellish “We’re An American Band.”

Photo: Shailee Shah / Photography EditorYo Lo Tengo performs at The State Theatre.