Sonic Youth

One of my closest friends Celia is a music freak and goes to basically every single musical gig, festival and concert that comes to Perth. She knows her music really well ever since she bought her very first cd ever (Spice Girls- but what girl didn’t buy that). She has her own blog about music, life and anything else random that goes on in her life that’s listed on the blog roll under “Killabot’s blog” on the right side of the page. I got her to write a little review on the Sonic Youth live gig that they played in the music box- Enjoy!

I was talking to a friend before I went to see Sonic Youth at Becks Music Box on the 23rd of February about my love of the band. When I asked him whether he was going to see them, he responded “no, because they are before my time”. I found this shocking from a guy who listens to the Pixies, a band who broke up in 1992 and reformed again in 2004 while Sonic Youth continue to record and remain relevant. But this is a guy who despises Bob Dylan and thinks the only redeeming feature of the Beatles were their “pretty harmonies” so we can dismiss his musical opinion entirely. Not to dismiss the Pixies undying influence or relevance on the current music scene (their record Doolittle is one of the greatest records ever made period), they were never asked to appear on the Simpsons. Although I suspect if the Pixies were asked to appear on the Simpsons it would be a good episode.

Sonic Youth played at Becks Music Box as a part of the Don’t Look Back concert series where artists play one of the seminal records from their career in full. During this particular show Sonic Youth were to play their most influential record (and their greatest in my opinion) Daydream Nation. The record has become one of alternative rock’s greatest achievements and is frequently featured in “greatest records ever” lists. It also has the rare honour of being inducted in the American Library of Congress for preservation as a part of the National Recording Registry.

Playing a set list comprised entirely of one record (not including the encores) is a difficult challenge. Unlike a normal concert where the audience is unsure what the band will play tonight, the audience already knows what songs they will be playing and in what order. It is hard to surprise an audience when the audience is already demanding Teenage Riot (the first song on Daydream Nation). Yet Sonic Youth are one of those bands that able to surprise an audience even when everyone knows what songs will be played. It is a rare talent that few bands possess.

It must be said, the first thing that probably surprised the audience first was the fact that the band members seemed old. True Kim Gordon is now in her 50s so if she didn’t age it would be more to the miracle of cosmetic surgery rather than anything genetic. The male members of the band (including Thurston Moore) also seemed to have gained weight as well. But to judge a concert based on their overall appearance is both unfair and mean. And the band seemed to know that they would be judged by their appearance so it appeared that they tried to throw away any preconceived notions that people nearing senior citizen status couldn’t rock. They also didn’t seem to mind the rigid structure set list, but the band seemed happy to play songs like Silver Rocket, where the middle section of the song allows for more improvising than the rest of the songs from the record. The band played passionately and sincerely, and they seemed to enjoy the audience who were hanging off every note.

If you aren’t the biggest fan of the record, there will most likely be times where you will probably get bored such as Daydream Nation’s middle third. But the audience didn’t seem to care and it is safe to say that most of the people who attended owned Daydream Nation and loved it. Perhaps the highlight of the show though (besides the opening song Teenage Riot and the thrilling Trilogy) was when the band came back for two encores and played a selection of songs from their latest record Rather Ripped (Incinerate and Jams Run Free were some of the songs played) which allowed the band to improvise more and let Kim Gordon do her twirling dance which she seemed to enjoy immensely. The songs from Rather Ripped showed that the band’s latest material rocked just as good as their masterpiece compositions from nearly two decades before. That in itself is a feat that should be applauded.

Cobra Celia d-_-b

Links to photos from the concert:
Part 1:

Part 2:



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