Posted in music | pictures | tour dates on July 5, 2009

photos by Bao Nguyen, words by Martin Longley

Sonic Youth

The 'A' train is not carrying its accustomed load, up at 175th Street. Droves of downtown rock'n'rollers are arriving at the relatively underused United Palace Theatre, on the less-frequented Washington Heights section of Broadway. It's an architectural wonder, impressively elaborate even before entering. Once inside, the exotica magnifies, as the foyer is encrusted on all sides by highly detailed work that can only be described as a decorative fusion. This joint must surely be one of the city's most ornate theatres, and on a particularly grandiose scale. It's best described as a dripping melange of Moorish, Hindu, Gothic, Rococo and Coney Island motifs. A huge organ sits waiting, greeting arrivals upon entry. Upstairs, the sealed manager's office has a David Lynchian metal lozenge of a sign hanging above its door. Down the corridor (with its infinity of mirror-reflection lamps) is another shuttered room with a keyhole that reveals an empty banquet table. The Room Of Rest has a row of porcelain urinals to covet. Upon entering the loges (balcony, to ordinary mortals), the full scale of this massive space is revealed, the vast walls continuing the densely barnacled theme. Although grand, there's also a sense of faded decadence, an almost morbid aura of decay. Upstairs, though, the acoustics are reverberational in the extreme.

review continued w/ more pictures & setlist, below...

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth aren't really loud enough up here, and the mix is a swirly mush. It also seems like that magical vibration of the crucial rock show ain't happening. The balcony is an excellent vantage point to witness the classic punk rock moves of Ranaldo, Gordon and Moore, particularly the latter who still projects the stringbean body language of a teenager. This is becoming my regular view, having been upstairs for SY's performance at the No Fun fest in The Music Hall Of Williamsburg. Then, it was Gordon's turn to writhe around supine on the floor. Tonite, it's Moore who gets to crawl around, whanging his guitar into his amplifier, his monitor speaker and his stage-side lights. Despite recent chances to hear SY play music for dancing (Merce Cunningham at BAM) and freaking (the aforementioned No Fun), this is a much-anticipated opportunity to hear them play a song-set, with the full line-up in place.

Unsurprisingly, it's The Eternal that provides the core repertoire, inevitably to the disappointment of some. Even so, its fresh contents are very much in the classic mould, so if your favourite old song isn't here, they have a new one that's not too dissimilar. The peak of these arrives midway, with "Anti-Orgasm", where Moore, Ranaldo and Gordon are all singing out front, all axes throbbing with full mass. Then, "Leaky Lifeboat" sustains the power and before too long "(I Got A) Catholic Block" sends everyone ecstatically back two decades. The nature of the sound up here means that the finer points of SY's wall-of-tuning can't really be disentangled, and the vocals are sometimes getting submerged. Each time the guitars pause, Steve Shelley sets his fur-balled sticks a-thundering on the toms.

When your faith in rock'n'roll might be in doubt, and you're wondering: is it the acoustics?, would this all be infinitely superior out in the corridor, with its low ceiling and thick carpet?, just wait until the extended encore, which rises up into that special place, as Moore urges the crowd forward and the band suddenly loosens up with "Pacific Coast Highway". Everything suddenly coalesces (or breaks apart), and by the time the second encore climaxes with a deranged "Death Vallley '69", SY are unleashed into their improvisatory flailing mode, where anything can happen, the song sounding just like it's been newly-penned. Who can say whether it's healthy when their best tune is still the one that first got many folks into this band, back in 1984. The acoustics might still be problematic up here, but the onstage energy and abandon has suddenly improved matters dramatically.

---

The Entrance Band opened. Sonic Youth's setlist after the rest of the pictures below...

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

The Entrance Band...

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Entrance Band

Sonic Youth....

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth's setlist (photo by PP, not Bao)...

Sonic Youth

---

This show took place on July 3, 2009. Sonic Youth played Battery Park on July 4, 2008. Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis played Battery Park on July 4, 2009.

Sonic Youth also recently played a show at the Apple Store.

---

Sonic Youth - 2009 Tour Dates

July
Monday 06 Washington, DC 9:30 Club w/Endless Boogie
Tuesday 07 Washington, DC 9:30 Club *
Wednesday 08 Richmond, VA The National *
Friday 10 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theater *
Saturday 11 Nashville, TN War Memorial *
Sunday 12 Birmingham, AL Sloss Furnace *
Monday 13 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse *
Wednesday 15 Dallas, TX House of Blues **
Thursday 16 Tulsa, OK Cains Ballroom **
Friday 17 St. Louis, MO Fair Saint Louis **
Saturday 18 Kansas City, MO Beaumont Club **
Monday 20 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall **
Tuesday 21 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue **
Thursday 23 Boise, ID Knitting Factory **
Friday 24 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory **
Saturday 25 Seattle, WA Capitol Hill Block Party
Sunday 26 Burnaby, BC Virgin Festival BC
Tuesday 28 Portland, OR Roseland **
Thursday 30 Salt Lake City, UT Twilight COncert Series **
Friday 31 Denver, CO Ogden **

August
Sunday 02 Oakland, CA Fox **

October
Sunday 04 Austin, TX AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

December
Saturday 05 Minehead, UK ATP Nightmare b4 Xmas

* w/Entrance
** w/Awesome Color

----


---

      

Comments (33)

Haven't seen a review with that much forced pretension since that time I taught HUMA W1123 many moons ago.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:04 AM

Holy shit..is that the drummer from the CRUCIFUCKS?

Posted by Jim | July 6, 2009 12:06 AM

What are Kim and Thurston doing scalping tickets to their own show??

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:18 AM

indeed 12:04

fucking pretension city. hard to read.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:40 AM

needs more pics of Paz Lenchantin

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:43 AM

Saw The Entrance Band tonite @ Southpaw in Brooklyn and they were AMAZING! It was like seeing the Jimi Hendrix Experience reborn as white neo-hippies from Los Angeles. And that's not a putdown. The female bass player also has the tighest ass I've seen in some time. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, the Entrance Band got it in spades, the new great rock power trio!

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:59 AM

You needed a pic of the bass player from The Entrance Band's ass. Ooooh la la! She is hot stuff.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 1:00 AM

reverberational isn't a word.

also, didn't we get this same speech about UPT when everyone went to see sigur ros? BV, fire this pretentious fuck (..."balcony, to ordinary mortals"...??!?!?) like who the fuck doesn't know what the loge section is?

average knowledge of anonymous MEH commentator > martin longley.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 1:06 AM

the United Palace is indeed a beautiful venue, but the massive distance between the band and the front row sucks hard.
saw the Smashing Pumpkins here in the Fall, and I remember Billy Corgan saying that when they saw the pictures of the venue they hadn't anticipated being so far away from the crowd and being pretty disappointed.

Posted by HalseyBlog | July 6, 2009 1:29 AM

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 1:59 AM

I agree with 12:04. this review is really pretentious. This sounds like the writing of a recent college grad out to prove that their parents tuition money was somehow worth it?

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 2:43 AM

SY should play all their shows in museums.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 7:40 AM

The Entrance Band sucked.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 9:23 AM

wow. i didn't realize the entrance band is paz's new project...

show was amazing. sad i missed the first 3 songs...

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 9:30 AM

Paz Lechantin tore it up with the Entrance Band @ Southpaw. Hottest bass player in rock and roll and I mean "hot" in all senses. The singer playing the upside down guitar sounded like he was channeling Jimi Hendrix. A very tight trio who are going to be playing bigger venues in a year or so.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 10:22 AM

weak set list i would have fallen asleep

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 11:19 AM

11:19-
You did fall asleep. After watching everybody loves raymond re-runs with potato chip crumbs stuck to your sweaty neck.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 11:40 AM

Preferaably some nude pics of Paz Lenchantin!

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 11:46 AM

I would like to hear more negative thoughts from people who weren't at the show. I find that interesting. Long live the internet.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 11:48 AM

@12:18 am. Thats no ticket searchers, thats the Matador label owners!

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:02 PM

Paz was in A Perfect Circle before, as well as Zwan, Queens of the Stone Age (one album), Silver Jews (on fiddle at times), and I think toured with Papa M at some point. She plays like John Paul Jones. Pretty accomplished lady already. Hope she didn't sleep with Billy Corgan.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 12:23 PM

I think Paz has found the perfect musical vehicle as this music allows her to stretch out and she is a helluva bass player.I spoke to her for a bit after the show and she said The Entrance Band has a new album out in September and seemed pretty excited about it. From what I heard last night @ Southpaw, I'm pretty excited about it too. The part near the end where she was sort of humping her bass with those tight white pants on was also pretty exciting! I don't want to think about her and Billy Corgan.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 1:06 PM

Paz is hot+rocks but that guitar player for Entrance is kind of a poof. She definitely steals the show.

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 2:19 PM

Show rocked!

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 5:30 PM

woooooo!
they played World Looks Red!

11:19
this was a decent set list

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 8:16 PM

"This joint must surely be one of the city's most ornate theatres, and on a particularly grandiose scale. "

Posted by Anonymous | July 6, 2009 9:40 PM

entrance band guitar guy's riffs are prerecorded...which is totally wack.

sy... always great, but not a great setlist.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | July 7, 2009 5:48 PM

The entrance band totally sucks! and Paz is a HACK...perfect circle, zwan??? please!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | July 10, 2009 11:39 AM

The ENTRANCE band bass player tries WAAAAY to hard to be "sexy"
totally lame and transparent thought out moves......bullshit hollywood stuff, fake hippies?? I'm not biting

Posted by Anonymous | July 10, 2009 11:43 AM

"Paz is hot+rocks but that guitar player for Entrance is kind of a poof." It IS the Entrance band. Entrance = The Guitarist, just like Castanets IS Ray Raposa.

Posted by Anonymous | July 11, 2009 5:10 AM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Margaret

http://racingonlinegames.net

Posted by Margaret | July 22, 2009 8:41 AM

This show was just noise.

Posted by Anonymous | August 1, 2010 8:26 PM

Leave a Comment