Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Predict A Riot: Sonic Youth play "Daydream Nation"



"Daydream Nation" is a legendary album for many people, it continues to loom and tower in the presence but also points back to a maybe purer time, the late eighties, early nineties, it's a very good album no doubt, though to me just one of many very good SY albums. I mainly associate it with listening to it on my ipod at work for some reason, the sound a bit tinny maybe, and the songs a distant wash. I explained yesterday to various people who didn't want to hear it (so I'll do it here too, haha) how I find the SY sound, the signature textured noise pop, a kinda continuum, they're always good, live especially, and they continue doing what they're doing. Still, this Don't Look Back concert, that has now turned into a tour and deluxe edition with an extra disc with all DN tracks from live bootlegs, was something special, a chance to reconnect with the past that showed how they are vital and were even more so maybe then. I listened to Daydream Nation and Rather Ripped, their really very good latest album that ended up on my Top Ten last year, back to back on my ipod at work again (I don't know why DN hasn't shown up on my most played playlist yet!) and felt quite distinctly that i was looking forward to the Rather Ripped segment of the concert too.

Chalk Farm is overrun with young and old people in alt rock t shirts, it's a beautiful scene around The Enterprise where we congregate, though I sneak in early to see the last ten, fifteen minutes of support band Car-Sick Cars , a three piece noise pop band from Beijing (which excuses the band name I think) who are clearly influenced by the headliners, tasty noise collages and fast perky alt pop songs. The scene in the Roundhouse is beautiful too, the space is just great, not too large, good sightlines, etc. though it gets very crowded, and I kinda hate the ten, fifteen minutes before a sold out show, the anticipation, people staking their place and all that. Noone wants to miss "Teenage Riot", the first track of DN that gets played in its entirety. Okay, the whole thing was really great, the songs sound a lot more powerful than on my ipod of course, the noise textures are beautiful, and the vibe *is* close to when I saw them in the 80s in Berlin when it seemd like they were communicating with their guitars on stage. There is a different kind of attention and concentration emanating from the audience and given back by the group, as Kim Gordon explained in the recent Time Out Interview: "Maybe it's just because of the intenseness that the audience is putting on the old songs that I can feel their energy...The Daydream Nation songs have a real density to them..." It's a very complex towering thing that gets fed by both the band and the audience, and the memories I guess, and the flavour switches subtly as they change vocal duties, the two songs sung by Lee were actually real highlights. And the Rather Ripped encore was beautiful too, and well received, it looked like people were actually dancing more, and it felt more relaxed. Second encore and final track was "Schizophrenia" from Sister, an even older album. All in all, a wonderful show, one of the best I've seen by Sonic Youth over the years, the focus on the past, the "looking back" actually worked, it felt rewarding and very intense. I'm very tempted by "The House of Love" gig later in the month.

1 comment:

Gavin said...

Lee's songs are always highlights. On the albums I don't really like by the band the Lee-sung songs were usually the only ones I did like.