To be invited as a special guest at Yo La Tengo's annual eight-night Hanukkah run at Maxwell's, you usually need to be a cool musician. Last night, though, the band made an exception. One lucky fan had a "life-long dream" fulfilled, as he joined the trio onstage for their first encore. "Fuck, I’m so nervous," "Kim" told us. Kim's voice was disguised by the microphone he was using, and his black ski mask further concealed his identity. The band launched into "Autumn Sweater," and Kim delivered a near-flawless performance. But seriously, "Kim" was just comedian Jonathan Glaser, star of Pootie Tang, who earlier in the evening had acted as Dave Farina alongside Jon Benjamin, who played Dave Franz — sons of actors named Dennis who share the name Dave. The pair was called in to tell the story of Hanukkah's origin, with Franz/Benjamin remarking, "Jews have their own top." A spirited version of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" capped their (butchered) explanation.
Yo La Tengo themselves got into spirit, too, walking through the crowd tossing out gelt and beads. Gorgeous versions of "Damage" and "Alyda" highlighted their set, but things got louder at the end with Mudhoney singer Mark Arm joining the band for covers of Van Halen's "Ain’t Talkin' About Love" and "Come to the Cabaret." Mazel tov! —Michael D. Ayers