February 1, 2012

Rock Over Boston: Thurston Moore & Kurt Vile | 1.31.2012

[Thurston Moore at the Somerville Theatre, 1/31/2012. Photo by Michael Piantigini.]

"Sonic Youth lives!" shouted one patron last night, during one of the quiet breaks between a pair of quiet songs (why can't people handle quiet anymore? why does it make them nervous?). And it may yet. Or not. Mum is still the word, and this isn't TMZ or something, so I'll lay off the speculating. But this "solo" Thurston Moore, as distinct from the member of any number of one-off projects who produce cassettes full of droning feedback and other interesting things, is a chill take on the fractured art-pop of latter day Sonic Youth.

And if we are indeed entering a post-Sonic Youth era and this is how it is to be from now on - largely acoustic, with an emphasis on subtle coloring and melodies from harps and violins, with only occasional descents (or ascents) into noisy chaos - I'm good with that.

I'd only seen opener Kurt Vile with his backing band the Violators (and this show was billed as such in some places), which certainly gives a tougher, heavier edge to his stuff. Here he was on his own but for some harp accompaniment on a couple of tunes and it's a whole different deal. It just seems easier to get lost in his meandering alternate-tunings and surreal lyrics nearly as effectively as you can on a pair of headphones if you let yourself go. He closed with an unexpected but revelatory cover of Gram Parsons' "A Song For You." I just re-listened to the original, and damn if it isn't now an obvious influence on Vile's style.

- Michael Piantigini

Thurston Moore: Facebook | Twitter | Sonic Youth
Kurt Vile: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter

[Kurt Vile at the Somerville Theatre, 1/31/2012. Photo by Michael Piantigini.]

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