The Sonic Elderly

I had the good fortune to see Sonic Youth a few weeks ago in Austin at Stubb's BBQ. I hadn't seen them since 1995, and was very excited to hear the new album, Rather Ripped, live.

Stubb's is a great outdoor venue and the weather was perfect. Well, for us Texans anyway. The band could have changed their name to The Sweaty Youth, because they seemed a little warm. However, they always seem to enjoy playing Austin and this night was no exception.

The show kicked off with Incinerate from the new album, Thurston belted out the opening lyrics:
i ripped your heart out from your chest
replaced it with a grenade blast

From that point on, the evening belonged to the Youth. The new album was played in its entirety, interspersed with five classics. They went back to Sister for the songs Catholic Block and Schizophrenia and surprised the crowd with a rocking version of 100% from Dirty.

Daydream Nation was represented with Eric's Trip and the final encore concluded with Shaking Hell from 1983's Confusion Is Sex.

I've really enjoyed the new album a lot, but I have to admit that it is a bit more sophisticated than the earlier Youth material. Would the old songs stick out like a sore thumb, or would the new songs contain the off-setting distorted harmonies that SY are known for? It's safe to say that the new album sounded just fine with the older material, and yet it showed the maturity of this timeless band.

Highlights of the evening included Do You Believe In Rapture, 100%, and Shaking Hell. The most memorable performance however would have to be Turquoise Boy kicking off the first encore. Kim Gordon's voice bordered on the ethereal, and time just seemed to slow down so we could bask in the moment. Beautiful. Thanks for the great show, Sonic Youth. Please come back to Texas again very, very, very soon. For more photos from the show, check my Flickr stream.

Turquoise boy I must confess to you
sweet liberation has come
you are a legend in a lovely game
but now I feel I must run
turquoise boy the sky is calling me
sweet isolation in the sun
you are a soldier in a sad charade
how can you lose whats never found


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