You know the story. The Jews needed eight days of oil to purify the Temple in Jerusalem. There was only enough oil for one day. Miraculously, though, that small amount lasted for all eight nights. And on every one of those nights Yo La Tengo played a concert.
Well, maybe they passed on that first Hanukkah, but it seems they’ve played eight crazy nights of shows every year since. Twenty-ten was no exception. As chronicled at BrooklynVegan, the nights of December 1-8 each saw a unique Yo La Tengo show go down at Maxwell’s in New Jersey. Every evening featured surprise openers and comedians, including heavy hitters like the National and Jeff Tweedy.
The holidays may be no more than a memory, but there’s a new reason to celebrate: recordings of these fantastic shows! The good people at NYCTaper snagged five of them, all from the soundboard. Anyone who’s seen Yo La Tengo knows they don’t skimp on the surprise covers and they went particularly crazy this year. On night one they brought out an Elvis impersonator for a few tunes by the King. On night six, they covered the Fugs’ “Nothing” – complete with all the Yiddish verses. On night eight, they closed the whole stand with a cover of a song from…The Producers (a song tragically cut from the recent movie).
Below, we present the cover songs from five nights of Yo La Tengo’s 2010 Hanukkah residency. Warm up your downloading finger, ‘cause there are 35. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got some cuts from openers Jeff Tweedy, Mission of Burma, and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Again, this post-holiday bounty comes from the always-amazing NYCTaper.
Happy Hanukkah…again! Download the individual covers or the whole package below.
Night 1 (12/1/10)
One Night with You (“Eight Nights with You”) (Elvis Presley cover)
Carnival Time (“Hanukkah Time”) (Al Johnson cover)
Magnet (NRBQ cover)
Angst in My Pants (Sparks cover)
Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon (Neil Diamond cover)
Wear My Ring Around Your Neck (Elvis Presley cover)
Burning Love (Elvis Presley cover)
Night 5 (12/5/10)
The Empty Pool (Yung Wu cover)
I’m Your Man (Richard Hell cover)
Astral Plane (The Modern Lovers cover)
Cover (Volcano Suns cover)
Ben Wa Baby (Phil Milstein cover)
Frenzy (The Fugs cover)
So Tough (Dredd Foole cover)
Night 6 (12/6/10)
She May Call You Up Tonight (The Left Banke cover)
Shut Up (The Monks cover)
You Can Have It All (George McCrea cover)
I Wanna Be Your Lover (Bob Dylan cover)
This Ain’t the Summer of Love (Blue Öyster Cult cover)
Little Honda (Beach Boys cover)
Red Rubber Ball (The Cyrkle cover)
I Get Out of Breath (The Turtles cover)
Nothing (The Fugs cover)
Night 7 (12/7/10)
Wasn’t Born to Follow (Carole King cover)
Pet Sematary (Ramones cover)
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (Ramones cover)
Heavenly Arms (Lou Reed cover)
Night 8 (12/8/10)
Eight Days a Week (The Beatles cover)
Gentle Hour (Snapper cover)
Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog (Norma Tanega cover)
Whatever I Do It’s Right (The Clean cover)
Sweet Dreams (The Mad Scene cover)
I Can’t Stand It Anymore (The Velvet Underground cover)
We Belong Together (Randy Newman cover)
Love Power (Mel Brooks cover)
Jeff Tweedy – Be Not So Fearful (Bill Fay cover) (Night 3)
Jeff Tweedy – Sometimes It Happens (Bill Patten cover) (Night 3)
Mission of Burma – N.S.U. (Cream cover) (Night 5)
Mission of Burma – Seven Deadly Finns (Brian Eno cover) (Night 5)
Mission of Burma – I Don’t Mind (Buzzcocks cover) (Night 5)
Mission of Burma – Youth of America (Wipers cover) (Night 5)
Mission of Burma – Class War (The Dils cover) (Night 5)
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – The World’s Greatest (R. Kelly cover) -> Sing Only When You’re Strong (Night 7)
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – In God’s Eyes (Willie Nelson cover) (Night 7)
Find the rest of the recordings at NYCTaper.
Soundboard recordings? You’re joking, right? If these are from the soundboard, either the engineer was a buffoon or my ears are really messed up right now.
You think so? I thought they sounded pretty good, considering (Maxwell’s is a tiny place). Anyway, yes, they are all soundboard, with occasional augmentation by additional mic setups. You can read all about the recording setup at nyctaper.