Yo La Tengo Welcomes Todd Barry, Lee Ranaldo & More In New York City

By Scott Bernstein Dec 26, 2019 7:22 am PST

Yo La Tengo resumed their 8 Nights Of Hanukkah With Yo La Tengo residency at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night with help from the Sun Ra Arkestra Horns and on Wednesday with a number of guests. Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, comedian/musician Todd Barry, horn player C.J. Camerieri and Liz Cox and Michael Cudahy of Christmas each sat-in with YLT last night.

Sun Ra Arkestra served as the openers on Christmas Eve with David Cross on the lineup as the evening’s comedian. The Sun Ra Arkestra Horns emerged about halfway through Yo La Tengo’s set to augment the band on a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Speeding Motorcycle” and remained on stage for the rest of the set. YLT and their guests performed Sun Ra originals “Dreaming” and “Nuclear War” along with a fast version of “Big Day Coming” and songs by Jad Fair, Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers and The Hondells. For the encore, the trio presented covers of Gary Lewis’ “This Diamond Ring,” “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke and Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.”

Fittingly, Yo La Tengo had Christmas, bassist James McNew’s former band, kick off the action on Christmas. Barry was aboard for standup and later returned on drums. YLT also tipped their hat to the occasion by opening their set with a take on Sven Swanson’s “Santa Claus Goes Modern” ahead of a slow “Big Day Coming.” The guest appearances started a few songs later when Cox and Cudahy of Christmas joined YLT for “Laisse Tomber Les Filles/Chick Habit.” Next, C.J. Camerieri added french horn and trumpet to a run of “Moby Octopad,” “Shadows,” “Black Flowers” and “Before We Run.” Yo La Tengo ended their main set last night with Lee Ranaldo joining in for a cover of Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.”

Yo La Tengo began Wednesday’s encore with “Junk” by Christmas. Then, Todd Barry jumped behind the drum kit for a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “This Ain’t The Summer Of Love.” Next, the trio, Todd Barry and Lee Ranaldo joined forces for Velvet Underground’s “Temptation Inside Your Heart” as well as a reprise of the song. Ranaldo stuck around to augment YLT on Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” and the Sonic Youth classic “Mary-Christ.” The residency continues with night five on Thursday.

Watch a handful of fan-shot videos captured by roolin from the past two nights:

Walk Away Renee

I’ll Be Your Mirror


Setlists (via Frank & Earthy)

Tuesday, December 24

Set (Sun Ra Arkestra horns enter during “Speeding Motorcycle” & stay for rest of the set): Here To Fall, Stupid Things, Forever, Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop, Walking Away From You, The Weakest Part, Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck), Speeding Motorcycle (Daniel Johnston), Dreaming (Sun Ra), Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Dessert By Mistake (Jad Fair), Emulsified (Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers), Big Day Coming (fast), Little Honda (The Hondells), Nuclear War (Sun Ra)

Encore: This Diamond Ring (Gary Lewis), Walk Away Renee (The Left Banke), I’ll Be Your Mirror (Velvet Underground)

Wednesday, December 25

Set: Santa Claus Goes Modern (Sven Swanson), Big Day Coming (slow), Can’t Forget, Let’s Do It Wrong, Point and Shoot, Laisse Tomber Les Filles/Chick Habit (France Gall/April March) (with Christmas’s Liz Cox on vocals & Michael Cudahy on guitar), Moby Octopad (with C.J. Camerieri on trumpet & French horn), Shadows (with CC), Black Flowers (with CC), Before We Run (with CC), The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell), Nothing To Hide, Double Dare, Heroin (Velvet Underground, Roky Erickson arrangement) (with Lee Ranaldo on guitar & vocals)

Encore: Junk (Christmas), This Ain’t the Summer of Love (Blue Oyster Cult) (with Todd Barry on drums), Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground) (with LR & TB), Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan) (with LR), Mary-Christ (Sonic Youth) (with LR)

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