After a decades-long career with Sonic Youth, and further side projects Free Kitten, Body/Head, and Glitterbust, Kim Gordon finally released her solo debut LP No Home Record in 2019. On the album, she experimented with more contemporary electronic sounds, such as trap beats and trance-like rhythms, while retaining the affinities for harsh noise and hard-hitting rock songs that made her an icon. Gordon wasn't able to properly tour the LP due to COVID-19, but nearly three years later, she finally embarked on a brief US tour, which stopped at NYC's Webster Hall on Friday (3/18).
Gordon was supported by her tight-knit touring band, which included guitarist Sarah Register, bassist Camilla Charlesworth, and drummer Madi Vogt. Backed by various video projections of highways and road signs, Gordon and the band kicked off their set with No Home Record opening track "Sketch Artist," before they ran through the entire album's tracklist mostly in order. Some of the record's more synthetic, production-heavy cuts, such as "Don't Play It" and "Cookie Butter," were greatly elevated by Gordon's live band, especially through Vogt's impassioned drumming in lieu of drum machines. Gordon both played guitar and wandered the stage with her microphone, and she would alternate between yelling over the edge of the stage, or softly swaying to the songs' rhythms.
The highlights of Gordon's set were undoubtedly the more upbeat and energetic cuts from No Home Record, including "Murdered Out" and "Air BnB," which both spawned rowdy mosh pits towards the far side of the crowd. After finishing her main set with "Earthquake," Gordon and her band returned to the stage for a fiery three-song encore, which kicked off with album highlight "Hungry Baby" (which brought on further moshing), along with a cover of DNA's "Blonde Red Head" (the no wave song that Sonic Youth's old pals Blonde Redhead are named after), before finishing with recent single "Grass Jeans." As her backing band left the stage during the song's final moments, Gordon ended the night by handing her still-plugged-in guitar over to the audience below, as nearly a dozen crowd members frantically strummed and fiddled at its strings, hoping to contribute to the already-overwhelming wall of noise. It was clear that even all these years later, there aren't many musicians out there that can effortlessly tie together chaos, experimentation, and style like Kim Gordon.
Before Gordon took the stage, her Body/Head bandmate Bill Nace performed an entirely-improvised set, whose unpredictability and hypnotic tension served as an appropriate icebreaker for the show. Sharply contrasting Gordon's flashy projections and backing band, Nace had no accompaniment aside from a modified lap steel guitar, which he continuously played for nearly half an hour, filtered through crushing, layered distortion.
Kim Gordon's US tour hits Jersey City's White Eagle Hall on Saturday (3/19). She'll then play two dates in Asheville and Atlanta, before touring across Europe in May. You can view fan-shot videos and photos, along with Gordon's setlist, below.
Setlist - Kim Gordon @ Webster Hall 3/18/22
Don't Play It
Get Yr Life Back
Blonde Red Head (DNA cover)