Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last night I saw Sonic Youth. By the time I disembarked from the MAX and walked through Old Town, it had cooled to 99 degrees. I don't mind the heat. I like extreme temperatures. They sharpen the experience. They make you feel something.

The show was hot. The band were hot, glittering sweat shaking off Thurston's soaked hair, Kim in a silver lamé dress, guitars going haywire. The intense human zoo aroma made me wish for a snorkel but I didn't even mind the sweat rolling down the backs of my legs. It felt good to be engulfed in sound and the heat became a physical element of it; dissonance is a hot sound, friction. Lots of Kim songs, lots of Lee songs, most of The Eternal, light on the hits, heavy on dude-roars for the hits, a crowd-surfer beamed in from the '90s, two encores, I would have killed to hear "Schizophrenia" but it wasn't in the lineup. Is it ever?

I like The Eternal a lot so far. It's solid. But live, I cannot even tell you how thrilling the song "Antenna" was. To approximate it, turn it up and up until you feel it in your whole body, and then when it gets to that single unison repeated eighth note, da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, turn it up steadily louder and then at the pause, hold your breath for a second, and at the crash, flash all the brightest white lights on stage so the whole room seems to explode. It was like that. Pure pleasure. A thrill to the bones.

Here's "Antenna".