Sonic Youth @ The Greek, 7/20/07
The double-header of Redd Kross and Sonic Youth completely blew my mind Friday night at the Greek. I had fantastic tickets (because my husband's online kung fu is the best), a photo pass (Thanks to the kind people at Nederlander Productions) and I was even on the list for the after-party (Thanks to Saccharine Trust and Dave Markey).
I have seen Sonic Youth a number of times, starting with the Gila Monster Festival in 1984, and most recently at This Ain't No Picnic around six years ago. I am used to their heavy, drawn-out jams. At one Butthole Surfers/Sonic Youth show at the Wiltern, there were big signs everywhere saying, "WARNING. Extensive use of strobe lights during this production." My friend added "WARNING. Extensive use of feedback during this production."
So it was fascinating to see Sonic Youth playing the entire Daydream Nation album from beginning to end. They really had to adapt their style in order to function within the constraints of an album. There was still a lot of guitar-shaking and bass-to-amp action, but it was somehow very carefully controlled. They have learned to play feedback as an instrument far better than Hendrix could ever have imagined. I actually preferred this pop-radio style to the long jams, which can be a bit much when you are not out in the desert on mushrooms. Of course Teenage Riot was the big hit of the night. Later they did a song from Sonic Nurse, which is one of my personal favorites. We had to run off mid-encore to avoid the Greek Theatre traffic cluster-fuck, but it does not mean that we love them any less.