James McNew Surgery Shocker! Also: M. Ward at Prospect Park Bandshell

08/08/2012 11:30 AM |


  • Frank Smith

Last night, M. Ward and Yo La Tengo played at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of Celebrate Brooklyn. Yo La Tengo rocked a totally mellow groove because, as Ira put it, “It’s been 20 years since we’ve done this, and hopefully it’ll be 20 years before we do it again.” “It” being playing without James McNew, bassist and supplier of badass fuzzy feedback awesomeness, who was laid up with an appendectomy. Even so, it was an adorable quiet set with Georgia, Ira, a violinist, and Dave Schramm, long-time collaborator. Good news: they’ve been working on a new album! (Duh, it’s Yo La Tengo, their brunch involves working on a new album.)

The crowd was not particularly welcoming, this evening, unfortunately. There was a lot of loud talking throughout, even right down front. I heard a guy behind me say: “That woman from Yo La Tengo is really looking like my mom these days.” Sir. Her name is Georgia and I will happily fight you in a duel for her honor. There were lots of cool parents with cool teenagers who were trying to co-dig the show, but it wasn’t really working out.

You should be so lucky, mom-wise

Wyatt Cenac opened, and was hilarious, but unfortunately also didn’t like the reception he got. People were still filing in during his set and much of the front and seating area was empty. It’s too bad because back in the grass sitting area, his Target chunk was totally killing. A lady definitely woo-ed and clapped for a joke about the lines at the Brooklyn Target.


M. Ward also played. He got the warmest reception from the crowd, which makes sense since he was headlining, but he’s not for me and I accept that. To me, it sounded like a weak-sauce version of Jack White with extra slide guitar. Yo La Tengo beat him to the Graham Parsons cover, which must’ve stung.

One Comment

  • A VIOLINIST? Does reportage no longer require any background knowledge or research? That is David Mansfield and he is by far the most accomplished musician to play that show.