Last night, I saw Yo La Tengo perform at the Museum of Fine Arts. For those of you unfamiliar with them, do not be fooled by the Spanish name (which actually hails from a baseball anecdote- read the story here); they're an American trio who have been on the indie rock scene since 1984. On their current "Freewheelin" tour, they are playing interactive sets in small venues, taking questions and requests from the audience. The small auditorium at the MFA was the perfect spot for such and event- people were close enough to ask questions and be heard, and the sound is fantastic. I caught the second of two shows and was very impressed by the band- the have a unique, ethereal sound, and handled the spontaneity of the setting adeptly. Occasionally, someone would request a song they hadn't played in years, or a cover of another group's work, and after a brief consultation with each other ("hey, this one's in G, right? No, it goes like this, in C."), they would play it perfectly. Ira Kaplan fielded most of the questions, with humor and a natural rapport with the audience.
Honestly, it's hard not to admire talented musicians who have been at it for over 20 years, despite a relative lack of mainstream success. Especially when give their albums titles like I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.