Experimental rockers Yo La Tengo have always liked a challenge, but even by their standards last week's announcement that each night’s content of their 2011 US tour would be decided with a spin of a big wheel of fortune was an unusual one.
But then after 25 years together, anyone would want to find new ways of exciting themselves and their fans. The wheel (which you can practice-spin on their website’s homepage) could find them playing as band side projects Condo Fucks or Dump, or it could make them only play songs beginning with “S” or only songs with names in the title.
Of course while this may be the most inspired and exciting thing to have ever happened in the world of gigs, it might also be a bit annoying when you just want to hear You Can Have It All, and instead they’re acting out a classic sitcom (another of the wheel’s options). No, actually, that sounds amazing. Bring it to the UK please Yo La Tengo.
Gigs Of The Week: 8-14 Nov 2010
LCD Soundsystem/Hot Chip/Shit Robot – Alexandra Palace, London, 10 Nov; The Coronet, London, 11 Nov
Gigs of the week? Potentially the gigs of the year. With James Murphy (pictured) and his dirty punk funk band LCD Soundsystem due to disappear at the end of the promotion accompanying this year’s This Is Happening album, this might be one of your last chances to catch their live show. Meanwhile Alexis Taylor’s street urchin vocals give Hot Chip the power to annoy, but they have enough brilliant tunes to back LCD Soundsystem up. Add to that the new kids on the DFA record label block, Shit Robot, and these gigs, in vastly different London venues before they head off to Cardiff, Sheffield and Manchester, could be some of the biggest parties of the year.
MIA – Brixton Academy, London – 10 Nov
Maya Arulpragasam’s third album, Maya, demonstrated her will to do whatever she wants, never mind what the record industry, her fans or the general public might prefer. And so stepping away from the radio-friendly charm of Paper Planes, Maya found her seemingly intent on damaging her position in the pop elite. Which is fine – she’s self-aware enough to know that she’s more naturally positioned as a rebel outsider. A disastrous set at the Big Chill festival followed, so expect chaos, stage invasions, but above all unpredictability at what should at the very least be a gig to remember. She'll also be playing in Oxford and Manchester.
London Jazz Festival – Various venues – 12-21 Nov
This year’s London Jazz Festival gets under way later this week. A vast sprawl of gigs and events in all sorts of great venues from those at the South Bank Centre to Ronnie Scott’s and Camden’s The Forge, there’s a ridiculous array of wonderful talent at your disposal. Early festival highlights should include Jazz Voice: Celebrating A Century Of Song at the Barbican, Herbie Hancock at the Royal Festival Hall and Polar Bear at the Westminster Reference Library.
Read our preview here.
Alex Winston – The Social, London – 8 Nov
Broken Records – Borderline, London – 9 Nov
Clare Maguire – XOYO, London – 9 Nov
Trophy Wife – Electrowerkz, London – 9 Nov
Wavves – Garage, London – 10 Nov
Islet – Cafe Oto, London – 11 Nov
Goldfrapp / Retro/Grade – Hammersmith Apollo, London – 11 Nov
Chromeo – Roundhouse, London – 12 Nov
Die Antwoord – Scala, London – 14 Nov
Gorillaz – The O2, London – 14 Nov
There’s undoubtedly gonna be a tussle in the coming months between Jamie Woon and James Blake for the title of king of soulful dubstep. While Blake’s getting a lot of the early attention, our money’s on the Woon coming through. His take on the genre is more obvious and will cater to the masses, but taking the glorious Night Air or the pitch perfect Wayfaring Stranger as leads, he’s going to take things up a glitch-notch. He’s just got the one live date lined up this year. Go see him at XOYO on 25 November.
The project of young American, Cameron Mesirow, Glasser feels like an entirely appropriate discovery to bring us to 2010’s conclusion. Apply, one of the year’s finest songs and the lead single off her Ring album, demonstrated that her calming vocals, tribal percussion and subtle experimentalism were entirely of the moment. Recently she’s packed out a few free gigs to those in the know, so it’s about time she made a few bob from this business. Pay to catch her on tour early next year ending up at XOYO on 22 February.
Neko Case with The New Pornographers
The New Pornographers are amazing. This is fact. This year’s Together album was a typically consumable collection of pop songs, made all the better for the dynamics offered by the rotating cast of lead singers. Largely the work of A C Newman, Together also finds Neko Case providing prominent harmonies throughout and taking the lead on two of the better tracks, Crash Years and My Shepherd. And so it could only be disappointing that she didn’t appear at their gigs earlier this year. But in December she will be here showing up everyone else’s vocal talents at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 9 December and then again at their appearance at the ATP Bowlie 2 Weekender. She will add extra quantities of amazing. This is fact.