I think I've finally collected myself enough to write this post.
Went to my first - yes, first - Sonic Youth show on Friday. I had to wheedle my wife a bit to get her to go, as she had already seen them "eleventy-million" times. Finally, she relented, but only on the condition that we bring earplugs. Fair enough.
We skipped the opening act after filling up on maki over at the sushi joint right next to the venue. Grab two beers at the bar... filter into the crowd about halfway up, stage right... hand over the earplugs... and...
Wow, hey. That's really Thurston. Jesus, that bass is as big as Kim. Lee Ranaldo, in the flesh. Second bassist? (Mark Ibold, I'm told.) And my baby sis' boss, Steve Shelley (note for the NYers - she tends bar weekends at Maxwell's).
The next couple of hours were a wash of feedback and "holy shit." I think my jaw sagged open the whole time. I can't believe I've missed this experience up until now. The band was completely on, Thurston especially. There's a vidcap of him on youtube (search: sonic youth nashville) leaning out over the stage, balancing himself with one arm extended to the PA and the other waving his Jazzmaster over the flailing arms of the ecstatic crowd. This was at the end of "Mote" and it went on for seemingly five minutes as Lee hammered away on the 3rd bridge of his guitar, prepared with a drumstick. The bass(es) thrummed and growled. The crowd erupted. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
At one point, Thurston quipped that he'd "been on this planet for half a century." I don't believe it for a second. He's not of this earth. And it's really hard to believe that the guy is 50, and his wife is 55. Regardless, we'll all have to wait and see what Sonic Youth is cooking when they're Social Security eligible in 10 years or so. If this show was any indication... it'll be something to behold.
They're so tight a cat can't scratch 'em. One of the five best shows I've seen, probably. (The other four: McCoy Tyner Trio in 2002, Elvis Costello in 2005, Hoodoo Gurus in 1988, Butthole Surfers in 1990.) And this was after Nick Lowe, Steve Earle, and Elvis Costello earlier in the week. Can't complain.
A lot of things (musically speaking) made a lot more sense to me as I went from City Hall to my car. How many debts, post 1983, are owed to this band? By my lights, a metric passel. I believe they even surpass some that came before them, to whom they were deeply indebted. But then, I've long held that bands almost wholly influenced by VU were better than VU (yeah, yeah, tell it to the judge - it's one of my more heretical lines of thought in the world of hipsterdom. I guess I'll have a chance to test this axiom when I watch my first live Lou Reed performance on Friday).
The World Looks Red
Bull In the Heather
'Cross the Breeze
Encore 1: Drunken Butterfly
Encore 2: 100%
If you've never seen them, much like the dumbass that I was prior to Friday, go.
Surely someone else from hereabouts went... was I the only one who saw a glimmer of The Creation?