Tag Archives: Sonic Youth

Photos (for Impose): Sonic Youth, Grass Widow, and Talk Normal at Prospect Park

Oh Sonic Youth.  Right up there with George Clooney, they are the poster children for aging gracefully.  How many other bands can you think of that play seriously kick-ass live shows, actually make meaningful music contributions, and were one of the most influential bands of all time some twenty-five years ago?  The guitar gods rocked the faces off of an incredibly packed Prospect Park bandshell.  There were people still trying to get in even as they were playing their last few songs.  The band is a monument to practice.  When you do something for a long time, you learn to do it damn well.  The trick is not to lose any of your fire, which was not a problem for the band at all on Saturday.

Grass Widow and Talk Normal each tried to hold their own, but neither were really up to the task of holding down such a large stage.  Talk Normal plays fairly interesting drone rock.  They use two basses and a drum kit, so the sound is fairly unique, but the drummer couldn’t quite seem to keep the beat well enough to make it a totally captivating performance.  As for Grass Widow, I really enjoyed listening to their songs for the first time before the show, but was confronted by a band with weak guitar sounds and no personality.  I’m definitely going to put their album in my iTunes, but I won’t jump to see them live again.  You check out photos from the night right here at Impose.

MP3: “My Friend Goo” – Sonic Youth

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Recommended Saturday Show: Sonic Youth, Grass Widow, and Talk Normal at Prospect Park (Free!)

Sonic Youth

Free Sonic Youth!  Free Sonic Youth!  Sonic Youth at Irving Plaza in 2001 was the first concert I ever went to.  I was a very innocent 15.  I went with my older brother and sister, and a drunk girl passed out in front of me.  My only complaint about the show was everyone was just standing around instead of getting into it.  All of those impressions seem hilariously funny now, and I’m excited that this FREE show tomorrow will be my first time seeing the tock and roll legends since.  If you’ve never had a chance to catch them before now, this is a great opportunity!

The two openers are also extremely cool.  Grass Widow is a group out of San Francisco who play fairly basic garage rock, but with frequent layered twists.  They take classic bass lines and guitar riffs and turn them into something new.  I’m really loving them.  Check out the track below.  Talk Normal, from Brooklyn, play dark-tinted drone rock.  It’s very moody, and sort of makes my insides squirm, but in a good way.  And it’s all free!  And in the most beautiful park in New York!

MP3: “Shadow” – Grass Widow

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Recommended Weekend Shows: The Holiday Breakdown (plus four great MP3s)

sonic_youth_peter_anderson

Of course the one weekend when I decide I’m going to take a break from indie-rockdom and get out of this city is the weekend that someone decides to pack every sweet band into all at once.  Doesn’t it always seem to work that way?  If your 4th of July plans aren’t taking you away to a friend’s parentless, pool-graced house in suburbia, then I suggest you check out one of these shows.  I’m going to be taking a blogging break until Monday, but I’ll break it down day by day so as not to leave you high and dry.

Friday.  This is, by far, the most difficult night of the week.  It’s the first night of the Woodsist/Captured Tracks festival.  Sonic Youth (pictured above) are playing at the United Palace Theater, if you have $40 to spare.  If you don’t have any money to spare, Here We Go Magic is playing at South Street Seaport for free.  BUT, if I could only recommend one show, it would be Grooms (ex-Muggabears), The Beets, Air Waves, and Real Estate at Bruar Falls.  Why this show?  Because I know for a fact that both Air Waves and Real Estate are excellent bands.  I’ve seen the Muggabears, but not since their name change and small line-up change.  I’ve heard a lot of buzz about The Beets, but haven’t gotten a chance to check them out yet.  This makes for a great show: I can guarantee some great music, but there’s still some mystery and excitement about the remaining bands!

On Saturday you could go see Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley band for free at Battery Park.  However, I would suggest that you don’t waste your time (that album was absolutely DREADFUL), and instead go to the wonderful, amazing second day of the Woodsist/Captured Tracks festival.  Holy cannoli is this a great lineup!  If you missed them the night before, Real Estate and The Beets will play, along with Thee Oh Sees, Vivian Girls, Kurt Vile, Woods, Tyvek, Dum Dum Girls, and Ganglians.  There are a few more bands that I’m unfamiliar with.  You may not be totally familiar with all of these bands either, but they’re all on the cutting edge of the indie lo-fi scene, and it should just be a great day of really nice music on the 4th.  I won’t go into detail about each band, but I can promise you that this will be a worthwhile event, if not just for the hipster watching.

Sunday is a little more cut and dry.  I think the obvious choice is to spend the day at BAM’s afro-punk fest.  I don’t know most of the people playing, but it’s free and is sure to be a good time.  Plus, Earl Greyhound is headlining, and even if you think their music is a little too 1960s derivative, you can’t argue that they always put on a rocking show.  I’m also a little biased towards them because their drummer once told me I was the hostest with mostest.  But regardless of that, this is the perfect, fun, carefree way to end a weekend totally jam-packed with great live music.

Here are some really great tracks from a few of the artists I mentioned that I think you will enjoy for the weekend:

MP3: “Lost Words” – Ganglians

MP3: “Shine On” – Airwaves

MP3: “Catholicked” – Dum Dum Girls

MP3: “Green River” – Real Estate

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