Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sonic Youth, Wiltern Theater, LA 09 Jan, 2010

First field trip of the '010 takes us into downtown LA, destination: The Wiltern Theater. Sonic Youth came into town to put the finishing touches on their tour for last year's 'The Eternal'. Lee Ranaldo's untimely wrist fracture sidelined the group, wiping out some shows & forcing make.up dates for others.

This, fortunately, was a make.up date, and the band showed no ill effects whatsoever. The one thing you can count on in a Sonic Youth show is forward motion...wherever they're currently at, that would be what the focus is on, (notable exception being some '07 shows to revisit 'Daydream Nation'), and tonight was a celebration of 'The Eternal'. Their newest record is informed by those 'Daydream Nation' shows, an attempt to revisit an album recorded by instruments they no longer possess, and also a move away from the old Mainstream, giving up the ghost of Geffen Records for uber.indie Matador, as well as working Pavement bassist Mark Ibold into the fold, allowing Kim Gordon to add more guitar to the proceedings.

They opened with the one.two punch of "No Way" and "Sacred Trickster" from the new album, then pulled out an exhilerating "Hey Joni", the first of three (!!) 'Daydream Nation' songs that they would offer. (The other two coming in the first encore). Back to 'The Eternal' for "Calming The Snake", with Kim Gordon leading the charge over squalling guitars.

I was basking in the sound of the Theater, easily the most complimentary mix I've ever heard on a Sonic Youth show, and not something said lightly...To capture the nuances of skronk and feedback, and, yes, melody, is truly capturing lightning in a bottle, and it's always a little miracle to me. Also made me realize that of the times i've seen them, this was the first indoor show, so that certainly makes a difference, but hats off to their crew & the theater...crispest mix on a noisy guitar show i've heard in awhile...

With the preliminaries out of the way, the band lit up "Anti.Orgasm" (above) finishing with a beautiful coda, and followed with a luminous take on "Walking Blue". The remainder of the main set mix and matched the rest of 'The Eternal', "Poison Arrow", "Thunderclap for Bobby Pyn", "Malibu Gas Station", "Antenna", a rousing "Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)", and "What We Know", ending with an amazing take on a surprising setpiece, "Massage The History". For days afterwards, i had Kim's strained coo and the guitar harmonics bouncing around in my head. The possibilities of the song really opened up live, and the haunting guitar lines bounced around the theater.

After a short break, they returned to blow the doors off the place with a double salvo from 'Daydream Nation', "The Sprawl" (above), and "'Cross The Breeze". Total annihilation.

Not content to leave it at that, they came back for a second encore, and finished the night with a harrowing take on "Death Valley 69", (below). Amazing show, and while peers have risen higher, and flamed out, regrouped and made millions, Sonic Youth continues to chug along in its own unique fashion...

(major thanks to Okeastron2008 & EdgeLover4Life for the video...)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Radiohead, II

Never did up my ended up at $475 when the auction closed. Ended up raising $572K according to preliminary reports...Celeb attendees apparently included Daniel Craig and Charlize Theron, amongst others...

Set list (Via At Ease):

01 Faust Arp
02 Fake Plastic Trees
03 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
04 The National Anthem
05 Nude
06 Karma Police
07 Kid A
08 Morning Bell
09 How to Disappear Completely
10 A Wolf at the Door
11 The Bends
12 Reckoner
13 Lucky
14 Bodysnatchers
15 Dollars & Cents
16 Airbag
17 Exit Music

Encore #1

18 Everything in Its Right Place (Thom)
19 You and Whose Army?
20 Pyramid Song
21 All I Need

Encore #2:

22 Lotus Flower
23 Paranoid Android
24 Street Spirit (fade out)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Radiohead Haiti Benefit...

Crash announcement yesterday from Radiohead that they would be coming stateside, specifically LA to play a benefit for Haiti (via Oxfam America) at the Music Box/Fonda Theater in Hollywood Sunday night. To see them in a venue of this size at this point is obviously a fighting proposition...How fighting remains to be seen.

Ticket sales were set up as auction only on Ticketmaster, with a min bid of $100, and sold only in pairs, max 2. So the default read 0 or 2, nice touch! The auction remains open until 11am Saturday...fascinating to see how it develops. Nice of Radiohead to break up their recording sessions to come over...more than likely a major price driver is the thought that they'll preview new material...

Of course I jumped in @$300 Thursday evening and held my breath...Informed @ 2.48pm today that the word was officially: FAIL! Min Bid now $350 and rising...WAHHHHHHHHH!
But good for them...I'm really glad that all the cash that normally would have gone to scalpers will be redirected for good. I'm unsure of the specific seating capacity for the Fonda; i would guess it to be 900 to 1000. Should be a happy little fundraiser...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Lineup!

This year, for the most part, i ignored the messageboards, scurrilous rumors, etc and just sat back and waited for it...

Patience is duly rewarded...oh, where to begin? Barring schedule conflicts, i'm looking at...

Friday: Wale, Ra Ra Riot, Cribs, Dillinger Escape Plan, Yeasayer, Calle 13, Avett Brothers, GRACE JONES, Fever Ray, Echo & Bunnymen, Grizzly Bear, SPECIALS, She & Him, Deadmaus, Them Crooked Vultures, Vampire Weekend...(heh heh 'public image ltd' heh heh...sigh) And that's just Friday...

Saturday: Beach House, Band of Skulls, Flying Lotus, Aterciopelados, Tokyo Police Club, Raveonettes, Les Claypool, JOHN WATERS !, xx, Gossip, DIRTY PROJECTORS, Devo, Dead Weather, Faith No More

Sunday: Soft Pack, Middle East, Meyer Hawthorne, Ceu, YANN TIERSEN, GIL SCOTT-HERON, Deerhunter, Sunny Day Real Estate, YO LA TENGO, Charlotte Gainsbourg (with an eye out for Beck!), De La Soul, SLY & FAMILY STONE, SPOON, Thom Yorke, PAVEMENT, Gorillaz...

whew, deep is the word...