Live Concert Photography: Yo La Tengo with Ultimate Painting at SummerStage Rumsey Playfield 7/17/17
So if you’ve been frequenting this site over its seven year history –or earlier today — you’d likely recall that back in 1986 City Parks Foundation created SummerStage in the spirt of Central Park’s original purpose — to serve as a free, public resource to help culturally enrich the lives of New Yorkers through live concerts, dance performances, and other cultural events. And although it began with relatively humble beginnings at Central Park’s Naumberg Bandshell, the SummerStage has a long held reputation of an impressive and lengthy list of internationally renowned acts performing across a variety of genres, cultures and styles on their stages, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, Big Daddy Kane, Seun Kuti, Femi Kuti, and countless others. Over the past two or three years or so, SummerStage’s organizers have ambitiously expanded the festival beyond Manhattan with shows hosted in parks, bandshells and makeshift stages across the city’s four other boroughs; in fact, interestingly enough, SummerStage has featured an increasingly diverse array of acts including Mobb Deep, Das EFX, EPMD, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, DJ Premier, Bonobo, Monobloco, Boogarins, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Roy Ayers, Meshell Ndegeocello, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Saul Williams, Lettuce and a lengthening list across a variety of other genres.
Last month, SummerStage’s main stage at Rumsey Playfield hosted the critically applauded Hoboken, NJ-based indie rock at Yo La Tengo and London-based indie rock side project Ultimate Painting. Check out photos below.
Yo La Tengo is Spanish for “I have it” — referring to a female-gendered object or person, in which it would be “I’ve got her,” but the Hoboken, NJ-based indie rock band actually derive their name from an old baseball anecdote. During the New York Mets‘ inaugural season in 1962, centerfielder Richie Ashbury and Venezuelan-born shortstop Elio Chacon found themselves colliding in the outfield. As the story goes, whenever Ashbury went for a catch, he wold scream “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” but Chacon spoke Spanish and had a limited understanding of English. During a game later that year, Ashbury yelled “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!” instead and saw Chacon backing off on the play, avoiding further collisions; however, left fielder Frank Thomas, who didn’t understand Spanish and missed the team meeting that proposed using “Yo la tengo!” to avoid outfield collisions, collided into Ashburn. After getting up from their collision Thomas reportedly asked Ashburn, “What the hell is a Yellow Tango?”
As far as the band, the New Jersey-based indie rock band, which is currently comprised of founding members Ira Kaplan (guitar, piano, vocals), and Georgia Hubley (drums, piano, vocals), along with James McNew (bass, vocals) can trace their origins back to 1984. When Kaplan and Hubley formed the band, they played an advertisement to recruit other musicians, who shared their mutual love of The Soft Boys, Mission of Burma and Arthur Lee and his band Love, and as a result, the band’s first lineup featured Kaplan, Hubley, Dave Schramm (lead guitar) and Dave Rick (bass) with whom they released their debut 7 inch “The River of Water,” which featured a cover of Arthur Lee’s “A House Is Not a Motel.” After the band recorded “Private Doberman” for the Coyote Records compilation Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon, the band went through a number of lineup changes before settling on their current lineup in 1992 — although the band’s original guitarist Dave Schramm joined the band during the sessions for their 14th record, Stuff Like That There.
Despite achieving limited mainstream success, Yo La Tengo have developed a reputation for being a critics favorite act while maintaining a devoted cult following, thanks in part to their live shows, which reveal an almost encyclopedic repertoire of covers — their SummerStage set began with a cover of Ace Frehely‘s “Back in the New York Groove“– and for their annual Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s that featured a shit ton of covers and special guests, including their parents. But what made their set interesting was that it was a career spanning set that featured bombastic, noise-filled, extended jams and delicate and beautiful ballads, as well as the announcement that the members of the band were bringing back their famed Hanukkah residency — this time, at The Bowery Ballroom in mid-December.
Opening the night was the London-based indie rock act Ultimate Painting, a sort of London indie scene All-Star act featuring Blackpool, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jack Cooper, best known for being the frontman of Mazes and a former member of The Beep Seals with Ian Smith; and Torbay, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter Jack Hoare, who’s best known for co-fronting Veronica Falls. The band formed 2014 and with a revolving cast of collaborators have released three albums — 2014’s self-titled debut, 2015’s Green Lanes and 2016’s Dusk.