The Thurston Moore Band / Mark Gardener – The Art School, Glasgow – Tuesday 11th November 2014
Opportunities in recent years to see any members of Sonic Youth perform have been fairly few and far between. So Thurston Moore’s appearance last night at the Art School justified breaking the ‘no late nights in Glasgow on a school night’ rule (just two days after the last time!) particularly since I hadn’t managed to get to the Oran Mor show a couple of years ago.
Whichever way you look at it, ex-Ride front man Mark Gardener seemed an odd choice to open the show. Musically the two seem an awkward fit. Stripped back of the electric guitars it was surprising how traditional even the Ride songs sounded.
Certainly you’d imagine that Ride and Sonic Youth shared a certain fanbase but would anyone really be persuaded to go and see Thurston just because Mark Gardener was playing?
Ultimately it was an enjoyable enough set with his use of loops giving his performance a little extra life. But, given that I probably only really like a handful of Ride songs after the first couple of E.P.s, it was never going to be enough to win me to the cause.
The chance to see Thurston Moore play guitar is always worth the price of admission. And that was true again of last night even if he seemed slightly less energetic than in the past.
His band (the ever reliable Steve Shelley on drums, MBV’s Deb Googe on bass and James Sedwards from Chrome Hoof on guitar) was sensational bringing (principally) new LP ‘The Best Day’ to explosive life.
After an initial underwhelming instrumental, ‘Evermore’ and ‘Speak to the Wild’ really kicked the show into gear. But unfortunately , for me, it didn’t stay at that level for the whole show. Whether it was just that I’m not completely up to speed with the new album or just the fact I was tired, the set didn’t completely engage me throughout.
Two encores, including ‘Ono Soul’ from ‘Psychic Hearts’ lifted things again with Sedwards at one point looking up from his guitar during a blizzard of white noise with an almost feral Killer Bob look. But for me ultimately undeniably the show fell a little short of seeing Sonic Youth.
Finally a word about the venue. Last night was my first time there but I certainly hope it won’t be the last. It’s a really nice room with good sight lines and, more importantly, good sound.