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Yo La Tengo’s unhurried creativity takes the stage at Turner Hall

A man on stage plays a guitar while looking at the ground, with a bass player and a drummer out of focus in the background.
Ellen Qbertplaya
Brooklyn Steel / Instagram

Milwaukee’s concert scene has a lot going on, so we look at the shows coming up to find the ones you’ll look back on and be glad you went. Then we add them to our weekly Milwaukee Concert Picks.

The 40-year-old, Hoboken-hailing Yo La Tengo are one of the biggest pillars of indie rock, and they keep finding ways to grow in new directions, even after 17 studio albums. Their latest, This Stupid World, sees them expanding into self-production and still sounding as classic Yo La Tengo as ever.

“It's fun to change things, and I guess I'm not afraid of being uncomfortable,” YLT guitarist and singer Ira Kaplan told me in a recent interview. He was referring to live shows, but this sentiment has definitely stretched into the bounds of the studio, where the band gets together to simply create in a sort of rhythm that’s as effortless as getting together to chat or eat. Making music isn’t a drive, it just IS.

“We're always getting together, we're always playing music, happy to do so without any clear plans for what we're doing or reason for doing it other than just to get together and play,” Kaplan said. “There's always that notion that something may come of what we're doing, but there's the freedom and comfort that it doesn't have to.”

There’s a special sense of unhurried creativity about Yo La Tengo. Their time on stage in Milwaukee is sure to highlight that quality in the best light, as they have the floor all to themselves this Saturday, March 25, at Turner Hall Ballroom. And if you can't wait that long, Yo La Tengo bassist/vocalist James McNew will join us the night before the show at 6 p.m. for a guest DJ set you can hear on 88Nine.

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88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee