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Sonic Youth Live by Rodger Bridges

Rodger Bridges photographer


Typically, if a band has been together for a quarter century or more, they stay famous based on their legacy. Most of their fans go to see them to hear “the old stuff.” Not so with Sonic Youth. Their latest, The Eternal (Matador, 2009) is as consistent and challenging as anything in their burgeoning catalog.

Now a five-piece—bass player Mark Ibold of Pavement and Free Kitten fame, who’s toured with Sonic Youth for the past few years, officially joined on this record—their live show is as blissful and blistering as it’s ever been. I saw them again recently at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. This time out, they ripped through most of the new record and a handful of tracks from past albums, including Hey, Joni, Stereo Sanctity, and their traditional live noise-jam Expressway To Yr Skull, which careened off into lovely oblivion as expected, the five sound-terrorists competing to choke the loudest, most horrendous sounds out of their instruments.

The members of Sonic Youth maybe old enough to be your parents, but don’t let that fool you. They’ll be destroying venues for the rest of the year—just as they’ve always done.

, 20 July 2009