TVD Live: Yo La Tengo at Grimey’s, 1/26

Sometimes, it seems that life is one big scheduling session.  We plan and plan, have meetings to outline future meetings and check our mobile calendars constantly in fear of missing the next appointment. 

What a pleasure, then, when something fantastic comes out of the blue, causing us to take both hands off the iCal and just let go.  Such was the case last Friday, when the folks at Grimey’s New & Pre-Loved Music suddenly announced that they would host an instore appearance by indie royalty Yo La Tengo the very next day at 1pm.  Not only that, there would be free hot chicken from Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, in your choice of mild, medium, and death wish. I mean, c’mon— Yo La Tengo AND free hot chicken?  Buh-bye, Saturday chore list!

While a packed-to-the-rafters crowd patiently waited for the chicken to arrive, the members of Yo La Tengo chatted and shopped, with Ira Kaplan taking a particular interest in the store’s stock of vintage soul 7” singles.  Once the fiery fowl was served and their Scoville unit levels had been properly spiked, the band stepped up to the mics.

Ira played a road-worn vintage Gibson B-25, Georgia Hubley expertly worked a snare with brushes and James McNew strummed a Gibson 12-sting for a deliciously wonderful stripped down set. Speaking of vintage soul singles, the band opened with a sinewy cover of William De Vaughan’s “Be Thankful For What You Got,” advice still as timely as it was 40-odd years ago.

From there, they opened the floor to requests and gamely rearranged songs to work for their two-acoustics-and-snare setup.

Listening to them effortlessly essay songs like “Paddle Forward” from their catalog, it struck me: this is what the Velvet Underground might have sounded like had they been well-adjusted and happy. As the set came to a close, Ira said that the band would be sticking around for a while, adding, “Anyone who wants to interrupt our shopping, please do.”

Regarding the loose, intimate vibe, store co-owner Doyle Davis noted that it was like having the band play in your living room.  How fortunate then, that the people of Nashville have such an inviting surrogate living room in Grimey’s. We are fortunate as well that the Nashville Scene’s Lance Conzett captured part of set on video, which you can view at the links.  Long live YLT and pass the chicken!

Pictured L-R: Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis, Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, James McNew, Grimey’s co-owner Michael Grimes

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