Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Thurston Moore Band at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall

Thurston Moore
Thurston Moore was born in Coral Gables, Florida, and was raised in Bethel, Connecticut. As a young adult, he enrolled at Western Connecticut State University, but instead moved to New York City to join the burgeoning post-punk/no wave music scenes. Once in the city, Moore sang and played guitar in many bands, the most successful being Sonic Youth and Chelsea Light Moving. The Thurston Moore Band was formed for his fourth solo album The Best Day, released on October 21, 2014. Moore currently lives in London, England.

There was a time when maybe this would have been unimaginable. Old punk Thurston Moore performed at a corporate-sponsored event tonight. Norton and Pandora teamed to present a concert by the Thurston Moore Band as part of the companies' BoldlyGo Concert Series. Select Pandora listeners were treated to an open bar and concert at the Marlin Room (capacity 500) at Webster Hall while silk-screen printer Hit and Run pressed free limited-edition souvenir posters in neon paint. Shortly after 9 p.m., the 56-year-old godfather of grunge, with mussed hair, sneakers, black trousers and plaid snap-button shirt, came onstage with his new band. The musicians tuned until it became their first song, an 11-minute version of "Forevermore," most of which seemed to be one droning chord being strum. Okay, well at least it was not feedback and dissonance; that would come later. The second song, an eight and a half minute "Speak to the Wild," similarly toyed with simplicity, fed into a more freeform arrangement, and then returned to the main structure of the song. "Thank you, nice to be here. We are who they say we are," Moore said to the audience before introducing his band: guitarist James Sedwards, bassist Debbie Googe (My Bloody Valentine,  Primal Scream) and drummer Ryan Sawyer. "This next song was written for and dedicated to Chelsea Manning, professional whistle blower. Please send your thoughts and wishes to her. It’s called 'Detonation' and it is also dedicated to our new friend Masha of Pussy Riot." The main set consisted of six of the eight songs from Moore's most recent album and the 30-minute encores of "Pretty Bad" and "Ono Soul" were from his first album Psychic Hearts. Moore's closing words: "See you around. Protest." Moore, a master of artistic freedom and aural distortion, often sang atonally and utilized unusual guitar tunings for discomforting timbres and drones. The band's performance was as driving and experimental as one would have expected from Sonic Youth or any of Moore's other bands, but we could have done well with shorter songs and less feedback and distortion.

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