Thurston Moore Band
Thurston Moore has a new band, a new album and apparently, a new outlook on songwriting. His latest effort, The Best Day set for release by Matador Records on Oct. 21st 2014 is already being sampled by fans on his current tour throughout the US and Europe (and you can stream it early via NPR). The Thurston Moore Band featuring Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, My Bloody Valentine bassist, Deb Googe and UK based guitarist James Sedwards of Nought made their stop at The Echoplex in Los Angeles this past Friday, Oct 10th, along with long time mates, Sebadoh.
I had no idea what to expect from Moore and company prior to the show. I hadn’t previewed any of the tracks that have been teased from the new album but what I expected was more of the experimental, nebulous anthems one might find amongst the Sonic Youth catalog. What I found is that while there is an unmistakable Moore-like stamp to each track that was played that night, this album seems to be deeply collaborative between Moore and the rest of the band.
Thurston Moore Band
The band opened with the seven-minute epic, “Forevermore” which showed both new discipline in songwriting for Moore, but also an unyielding defiance to reel it in completely. It was also my first opportunity to understand the depths of lead guitarist James Sedwards who seems to be thoroughly educated on his instrument but also has the feel for experimentation in his tuning and clear cut compatibility with a mad genius like Moore. This song painted the picture of the new release by displaying fiercely intense, rhythmic droning that was enhanced by the meter and hard hitting of Steve Shelley, as well as downtempo interludes that were sweet and subtle. The dichotomy of these new songs in their unmistakable, momentary suggestions of noise and feedback are balanced with a lions share of consistency and structure. As I was hearing these songs live for the first time, there was much more coherent thought and less abstract suggestion in the lyrics that stood out. Three songs into the set, “Germs Burn”, a tribute to Darby Crash had me sending texts to make sure I had an advanced copy of The Best Day sent to me so that I could explore what Moore is trying to say in these songs. Moore did bust out with two songs from his 1995 Psychic Hearts release. “Ono Soul” and “Pretty Bad” served as the encores to a most satisfying night of new music from Moore and company.
At no point in the show did I find myself wanting to hear an outburst of any classic Sonic Youth songs. I believe this is one of the biggest achievements of the Thurston Moore Band. Each song made me more curious about the next. The Best Day certainly seems to be its own thing and strong enough to support curiosity from old and new fans alike without that constant yearning to hear works that made you fall in love with Moore in the first place.
Booking Sebadoh for this tour was a perfect way to give those looking to relive a period of time in their lives by giving them something familiar they could sing along to. Lou Barlow and his band spanned almost two decades in their hour long set. They had a lot of fans there, but most of them behaved like they were at a supper club watching the gig. It’s rare that a low energy Los Angeles audience doesn’t somehow detract from the validity or power of a performance but that wasn’t the case here. Sebadoh traversed each track with enough energy to fill the entire room and left it all out there on stage.
Show Review: Danny Baraz
Photos: Taylor Wong
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