After playing shows for over a quarter of a century, you have to find new ways to spice things up. Hence Yo La Tengo’s just-announced Wheel of Fortune-inspired tour (and unexpected tribute to Charlie O’Donnell), where the band will play two back-to-back sets, with the direction the first being decided by fate, physics, and a giant spinning wheel. At the beginning of the show, the band will bring said wheel on stage and spin it, and whatever it lands on will dictate how the band spends the next 45 minutes of their time, whether it be dipping into songs from their side project Condo Fucks or letting James McNew do some little-seen-live Dump stuff, or acting out a classic TV sitcom. The possibilities, as outlined on the group’s website (where you can also practice spinning the wheel):

1. Condo Fucks:
50 million Fuckbook fans can’t be wrong!

2. Dump:
Why should Nijmegen and Claremont get all the fun? Is this the night Dump plays your town? Only the wheel knows.

3. The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo:
You ask a question; we answer the question, and maybe follow up with a song.

4. The Name Game:
Have you ever noticed how many Yo La Tengo songs include someone’s name? More than 45 minutes’ worth, that’s for sure, so who knows which ones we’ll do on any given night.

5. Sitcom Theater:
The lucky audience in attendance the night the wheel lands on this space will get to see band and crew act out a classic sitcom.

6. Songs Starting With S:
The only thing more common than a Yo La Tengo song with a name is a Yo La Tengo song starting with S (only one song fits both categories). So many, in fact, that we cannot promise that all of them are on the table, as it were. But we do promise that there will be songs rarely, if ever, heard live.

7. The Sounds of Science part 1
8. The Sounds of Science part 2
All of the lovely sounds we created, but none of that pesky science. We’re leaving the movies at home, and dividing the 90-minute program in half.


Man, whatever audience lands on the Sounds Of Science option is going to be bummed, right? Hopefully they’ll let them spin again. The relevant dates:

1/20 Philadelphia, PA, The Trocadero
1/21 Washington DC, 9:30 Club
1/22 Carrboro, NC, Cat’s Cradle
1/23 Carrboro, NC, Cat’s Cradle
1/25 Orlando, FL, The Social
1/26 Jacksonville, FL, Freebird Live
1/28 Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
1/29 New Orleans, LA, Tipitina’s
1/31 Birmingham, AL, WorkPlay
2/1 Nashville, TN, Exit/In
2/3 Indianapolis, IN, The Vogue Theater
2/4 Chicago, IL, Metro
2/5 Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Small’s Fun House