Deadlier than the mail

The mailbag overflows with memories of August 9 . . .

The first is from Steve in Baltimore, who presumably is writing about 1986, when we got to open for the Slickee Boys.  “Specific date and year” is tough to recall but it was Yo La Tengo’s first appearance at the original 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.  Standing up against the stage were my friend Mike Goldman and I.  We had recently formed a band with grandiose expectations and all the best musical influences, but a deficit of talent among the two members who weren’t Mike.  If that early incarnation of YLT noticed one person in the 9:30 audience whose response to the performance seemed inordinately enthusiastic, it must have been Mike.

My specific memory: at some point, Mike leaned over toward me and yelled, “They sound like us!”  Anyone who’d heard us play might not consider it a compliment, but I immediately understood and agreed.  At least, it sounded like what I imagined we’d sound like, on a good night, perhaps.  That memory stayed with me through years when I was a less-than-avid YLT fan who nevertheless seemed destined to cross paths with your band intermittently, until I finally wised up and realized that you are one of my favorite artists.  Thanks for three decades of sounding like us, only much better!  

We’ve only played two shows on this date, and both of them elicited emails! Klaus has all the facts:

2005-08-09 Tue: Yo La Tengo, Columbia Fritz, Berlin, Germany

Second time I saw, first time with my girlfriend. Support was “The Scene Is Now”. Can’t remember any songs, [correction: most of the facts] but what started out quiet, turned into something that kept my ears ringing for about a week. Roughly during the third song, Ira activated his distortion pedals for the first time. What a shock and a surge of energy and volume. Very impressive.  Since many people are writing to you about how you and your music affected their love life: Around that time, “prisoners of love” came out, and my girlfriend subsequently bought it. The first and up to now (I think) only time that she bought a record of a band that I already had records of.  All the best!

Finally, we’d like to wish a happy sixth birthday to Georgia from Baltimore!   Chris & Karen write: On August 9, 2008 our second daughter was born.  Inspired by the most badass drummer in rock, we named her Georgia.