Written by Samuel Barker
Mar 17, 2004 at 08:00 PM
ImageNormally, I’m the first person to feel a bit cheated when I go see a band that plays mostly songs from a soon to be released album. However, that is when I’m dealing with a normal band that doesn’t spend a good part of the set creating spontaneous noise.Sonic Youth is a band that is more about watching a display of the sonic limitations of guitars and effects pedals. It’s about seeing 5 talented musicians create layers of sound right before your eyes. A musical Houdini, if you will.

From the opening note of Unmade Bed, the spectacle had begun. Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Jim O’rourke began their sound bending as Kim Gordon and Steve Shelley built the base for the song. This is what Sonic Youth is all about…except sometimes Gordon will take place in the sound bending noise while someone else picks up the bass.

Burning Spear was where the set took it’s first turn for the oddball noise production that makes Sonic Youth just as exciting to see now as they were 15 years ago. With Moore and Ranaldo used drumsticks to produce pulsating walls of feedback (yes, that sounds artsy, but that’s the only way to describe it), while O’rourke just used his guitar chord, pedals and finger to create more noise to add to the fray.

With all the new songs, there were a few miscues at the beginning of songs, which led to some humorous interaction between Moore and the audience. These lighter moments got the audience more involved and definitely showed the band wasn’t afraid to acknowledge their mistakes and have a little fun with their new creations.

Of course, the addition of an old favorite like Brother James, got the audience riled back up for the impending encore, which extended the night to nearly two hours. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night.

Having not seen Sonic Youth in many years, it was great to see the band come to town to light up the imaginations of all the people who still believe beating household utensils against their guitars are a viable musical artistic expression. See you in housewares.

*Note: Club V is just the Verizon Wireless Theater with the ceiling lights dropped and risers curtained off…who cares, it’s filling the void left by the closure of all mid-level clubs.