Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sonic Youth @ McCarren Pool - Jul 28, 2007

Hey Joni, put it all behind you
Hey Joni, now I've put it all behind me too
Forget the future
These times are such a mess
Tune out the past, and just say yes!

I hope my friend Felix one day finds this post. He tried to get me into Sonic Youth's music a while ago without success, but after Saturday night, I am officially a new fan.

I was standing in the back of McCarren Pool with a couple of friends. They don't like to be close to the stage nor to surf in between the people trying to find a good spot. Initially I was OK with the idea of watching Sonic Youth's performance from far, even though I had another friend (and huge SY's fan) way closer to the stage. Two songs into the set, with Thurston singing, I couldn't resist it anymore. I gave a "see you later" to my friends and went up to the front to experience another best show of my life.

The stage was pretty simple as everybody would expect from SY. Simple, but special. A fluorescent semitransparent candle with lights coming from its back was all they used to adorn them while playing one of the best records of the 80's. I haven't listened to all of them, you know, but that's what people say, and certainly, on Saturday night I had the premonition it had to be. Sonic Youth doesn't make the kind of music I can easily digest, so please take my word, if you haven't heard this album, that if I am telling you so it is because it gotta be.

I got pumped when I heard Kim's voice in The Sprawl. I love her voice. It's not a pretty voice and I don't care. It's rough and sounds very rebel, perfectly fitting the band's noisy sound. Then it came Cross the Breeze, that started softly and as on the record, it tricked us all with the change of rhythm. That song kicks so much ass. I swear that in that precise moment there was a refreshing breeze surrounding us and pretty much told us how magical and historical this event was. I am not lying. It's not that I wanted to see the breeze moving Kim's hair, although as a fan it is totally valid if I make it up, right? but I didn't.

I though the rocking couple Thurston-Kim were the only ones singing in the band. I concluded that because what I knew the most from them was their most recent album, Rather Ripped, and Lee Ranaldo doesn't sing on it. It turned out that most of my favorite songs on Daydream Nation not sang by Kim, were actually sang by Lee, so I had quite a surprise when I saw Ranaldo approaching the mic, while awesomely playing his guitar, and sung Eric's Trip. God, he is good.

It hasn't been hard to recall this concert's set list ;). Sonic Youth then played a slowed Total Trash and let us hear/see how Thurston got famous by alterating the guitar sound with sticks and stuff. I saw Kim doing it too later with her bass... she is a bad ass. Jajaja.

Lee got closer to the mic once again and then I decided he fucking needs to keep singing for SY. My first favorite song on the record is Hey Joni and it seemed it was for a lot of people at the pool. The ovation at the end of this song was so notorious that Mr. Ranaldo thanked us for our devotion to it. I loved it.

By this time, the sun set and everybody's mood was even more perfect. We were wondering with my friends before the show if the band was going to play the interlude in the middle of the album, called Providence. They did. Thurston was in charge and after tunning an old looking stereo, we heard the old voice mail recording of some Moore's friend calling him from, let me say, out of space. Actually from Providence, Rhode Island.

The bad thing about knowing the set list in advance is that you know when things are going to end. Now there was left only Candle, Rain King, Kissability and Trilogy. But then you remember Trilogy is like 15 minutes long and by that moment an "It's all right Candle" coming out of everybody's mouths, including Thurston's, remind you better why it is one of people's favorites and focus you back into the show again. I think they played this one slightly different, longer I would say, and another strong clapping accompanied the sudden end of the song.

Then Rain King with Lee on the vocals again, although not as unforgettable as with Hey Joni, paved the way for the awesome Kissability with Kim stealing the show one more time. And that's almost it... only Trilogy was left. But right, Trilogy is like 15 minutes long! It wasn't over yet man! I am sorry for the song by song and detailed review I am doing but I can't stop it. I loved this shit. Let's finish it. One of my favorite Thurston's songs is on this Trilogy. It's called a) The Wonder and I love it mainly because his singing here. On record, and now live, I am not gonna forget how he tells us that he is just waking around. Would you? Thurston rocked one more time with Hyperstation and then slowly left us with a song I wanted to enjoy the most from the beginning, z) Elimination Jr.

In the back of the pool the age average was somewhere around 30, but in the front it was 17. I was surprised of how many very young people were at the show. Sonic Youth has been on this business since 1981 for god's sake! Some of them hadn't been born yet and they were not only watching a legendary band play, but also dancing, singing and fisting to their music like a hardcore SY fan. There were some long time fans hanging out around there too because they are easy to recognize... most of them don't have much hair anymore. I know, I am getting there too so I'll shut up. Anyways, I wanted to pog with all these kids and a few old guys who were decided to move their bodies, but when the moment came, Kim took us by surprise and they all decided to shake only their heads instead. Well, I followed!

This wasn't the end. The band came back twice to play songs of their great new album for a very long encore and let us know how their musical present looks for them. Sonic Youth, If Kim is going to keep dancing like a butterfly as she did that day for all these songs I am not only checking out your present, but even looking forward to your future! [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Sonic Youth Links: Stream Rather Ripped, Stream The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities, Official Website, MySpace, Wikipedia


esguerroto said...


Since this is your English written blog, I'll go ahead and write in this alien tongue.

Ranaldo, Gordon and Moore rock da house?

Arghhhh, this one I really, really wanted to go to. I've been a fan since, the nineties, NY-punk scene BabY!!!

When's the next Sonic Youth gig?

esguerroto said...

You write pogo, just like in spanish. The first time I saw pogo out of the Colombian rowdy party context was in a Sex Pistols video, where some batman look-alike kinda letters popped out of the screen saying "Do the pogo dance!"
In the US they call it mosh, or to mosh, or the mosh pit, I think, or at least that's what they called it in the nineties when they were talking about the Smashing Pumpkins concerts.

Eduardo Osorio said...

No word about a new SY tour yet.

I read the word pogo on Stereogum once I think... I thought then maybe pogo is an english word too?!?!! Whatever, ha ha.

esguerroto said...

Well actually is english, it's not spanish. But of course in the homeland we would think of it as being such a local word.