Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sonic Youth @McCarren Pool, July 28th

Unlike a year ago, when I saw them in the same setting, co-headlining with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, today's concert at McCarren belonged solely to Sonic Youth. Their main objective -- to play their seminal album, Daydream Nation, in its entirety. (Julie1 and I opted to forgo the opener, The Slits, for some good Polish grub and a donut and coffee in Greenpoint.)

We met up with Ste and Lora, and we stood to the right of the soundboard, choosing to listen from afar in a less neck-craining posture. As soon as the opening notes of "Teen Age Riot" came out of the speakers, I don't know why, but I almost got weepy. The anticipation I felt was overwhelming a bit, and seeing this huge crowd come out for one of my favorite bands gave me chills. Usually you see a show, and you hope that a band will play certain selections, but this time, there was no surprise as to the setlist, obviously. What thrilled me was the opportunity to see Sonic fucking Youth play from beginning to end an album I still listen to regularly, despite it being nearly 20 years old! I mean, for crissake, Ronald Reagan was still in office, the Berlin Wall was still up, and all that other bullshit of the late '80s, yet the music of Daydream Nation still remains relevant as ever.

After about halfway through, Julie1 mentioned she was tiring of the crowd, and she considered moving back even more. I was also annoyed by constant prattle of a few in our area, and some tall doods parked in front of us. So I bade farewell to my pals and decided to weave my way closer to the front. I got to dead center about 20 feet from the stage and decided to soak it all in. The volume up front drowned out any would-be chit-chatters, and I seemed in a good pocket of fans who bopped their heads along to the music as I did.

After closing out the main set with "Eliminator, Jr." they returned to the stage to play a double encore featuring about half of the songs from their latest album, Rather Ripped. As Thurston Moore put it, they were returning to the 21st Century. Here is "What A Waste":

The performance of Daydream Nation was fantastic if you were familiar with the album as a whole. It is definitely one of those albums that doesn't necessarily feature a bunch of songs that can be taken individually. I could imagine if you were trying Sonic Youth for the first time, this would not have been the occasion. Steve Shelley was a beast on drums and kept the band rolling. I particularly enjoyed Lee Ranaldo on "Hey Joni." And lemme tell ya, Kim Gordon is a year older at 54 and still epitomizes beautiful and cool, and Thurston mustn't ever change his boyish haircut. I love how it flops around when he's shredding on the guitar.

The band ended in time for curfew at 9:58 -- Thurston mentioned the need for an anarchy ordinance. That would be sweet.

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