Saturday, September 02, 2006


Hi, we are rock n roll dieties.

Sonic Youth is probably my favorite rock band of all time. Sometimes Pavement sneaks ahead, but that's only when I'm in a good enough mood to think non-sense is sense, and the Youth usually pulls back out ahead when I compare Malkmus' solo work with the last three SN albums. They've been around for about 25 years, they're all pushing 50, and somehow they're pretty much the most unimpeachably cool band around. Their last 3 albums are all among their best, which is saying something for a band that released their seminal shit in the early 80's. Plus, Chuck D raps in one of their songs. Remember, even though she hung out with Fab 5 Freddy, Debbie Harry had to do it herself. To add to the Youth's stellar post-millennial output, there came the (relatively) new full-length Rather Ripped, which is a conspicuously tight affair, with more hooks and little loops than Velcro.

The last and only time I saw the Youth live was a long time ago when they opened for Pearl Jam. My friends didn't even know who Sonic Youth was, and despite my insistence that they were much better than Pearl Jam, everyone was more concerned with getting wasted in the parking lot than catching the coolest band ever. So tragically, by the time I convinced my crew to get going, the Youth were finishing their set. So needless to say, when I saw they were playing the NY state fair, I was determined anew to actually see the beginning of a SN set (plus I was given an excuse to see "Big Norm" the prized 1600 pound hog). Well, I improved, and this time I caught part of the middle, and all of the end. And I wasn't alone. Everyone I knew at the show was there to see the Youth as much as the opener, The Flaming Lips. The show was set to start at 5:00, and the bill was The Magic Numbers (who gives a fuck), Ween (I don't like Zappa enough to be excited about them), the Youth, and the Lips. We got to the venue at about 6:30, which I figured was in plenty of time. But NooooooooOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo. WEEN IS HIGHER ON THE FUCKING BILL! WHAT THE FUCK? Ween higher then Sonic Youth. That's like batting a largemouth bass in front of Ricky Henderson (the bass has a bigger strikezone). So the Youth is playing when I get to the venue. I see then play three songs, the last, "Pink Steam" from Ripped Thurston introduces like this: "this song is about getting food poisoning yesterday in Allentown, PA." Half the crowd hadn't even shown up yet, it was still daylight, and besides a guy with a cowboy hat who was dancing around in paroxysms (who was later arrested), the crowd didn't have enough $4.50 beers in them to go nuts like they should have been. Three fucking songs. Fuck.

Ween is a bizarre band. The singer sings like an Axl Rose cartoon (which is saying something because Axl Rose is already a cartoon), and they try to play every genre of music at the same time, which I guess is a joke. Approximately 20 people in the crowd were singing along to ever song, which astounded my, since I didn't think there were 20 people in the world who knew all the words to a Ween song.

I have to give it to the Lips. They make better use of balloons, confetti and dancing female Santa Clauses than...a bachelor party at the North Pole. The set was OK, but the theatrics almost made up for it. Confetti shot out of these huge cannons at climactic moments, the biggest balloons I've ever bounced around in the crowd during the whole set, and the roadies were dressed like superheroes, Space Ghost included. Also, Wayne Coyne came out wearing these prodigious foam hands. The video backdrop showed the Teletubbies, some Asian game show involving what looked like a Gila Monster, and a naked chick dancing around. Awesome. Too bad Sonic Youth wasn't playing when all this was going on, instead of a band that asked me if I realize that everyone around me will die at some point. Duh!

1 comment:

Sordid Puppy said...

this show came through omaha...i guess im a retard for not going