‘We know that ‘quiet’ isn’t the preferred volume of the Electric Picnic festival, but….we’re gonna do these songs anyway’ – Ira, onstage.
Quite a gauntlet to throw down, made a little more palatable by the fact that Yo La Tengo had just opened their set with the ramalama-organ garage bluster of ‘Never Saw It Coming’ and the kraut-psych noise jam of ‘Pass The Hatchet’ to a mostly agog audience. The aforementioned quiet songs, all of which were from ‘I Am Not Afraid..’ ran the risk of being drowned out by two adjoining stages, but then they dropped ‘Tom Courtenay’ and ‘Little Honda’ to all the rapturous response that indiekind can muster before adding layer of noise to noise for closer ‘The Story of Yo La Tango’. When it finished, it felt like I hadn’t breathed for 20 minutes – but then some dude had hit me pretty hard in the chest with excitement when those first chords of ‘Tom Courtenay’ started up. The same dude went mental with delight when they came back on for an encore of ‘Sugarcube’ (insert your own superlative here). It’s kinda difficult to gauge audience reaction when you’re up front, but YLT seemed to have kept a largely drunken-end-of-the-evening-waiting-for-2manydjs type crowd happy, which is quite a feat. With quiet introspection and noise drones, no less.