Saturday, 23 February 2008

Sonic Youth and Melbourne notes

I had a great trip to Melbourne, probably the best one ever, despite going there about 4 times last year and once a few years before that. It started pretty badly- I think that seeing a movie (Jumper, ugghh!) and doing lunch with my ex was not the best way to start things off. But I checked into the hotel and caught up with Calculon, who was the bestest host ever, as well as being such a cool, nice, funny, smart and independent young dude! We went for a drive to Chapel St and St Kilda, had a nice simple thai dinner in the city and walked around Southbank before being damn-near burnt to a crisp by the fire displays (which seemed much more appropriate when I was there in Winter, I think!).

Needless to say, I skipped Damo Suzuki, which I think was a good decision. The next day we planned a driving trip to Hanging Rock, but cut it short at Mt Macedon due to really horrendous weather. It was still nice though, since I had never been far outside the Melbourne CBD and suburbs. We ended up going to see Sweeney Todd and then I went back to the hotel to rest before the main event - Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation in its entirety!

Okay the gig was fucking awesome. I secured a great spot at front centre, slightly elevated due to some stairs. The Scientsts were not bad, but not having been a fan previously, I was a bit impatient for it to finish. Sonic Youth came on and said barely a word before launching into Teenage Riot. They ripped through the 70+ minutes of Daydream Nation as if it was 1988 again. No words that I come up with can really describe how this felt for me. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I savoured every second. Lee and Thurston played off each other's guitars perfectly as always - "the assault of holy noise" - with Kim's bass and Steve's drums always there to round things off. Something I noticed is how much their live sound and singing has improved compared to live tracks I've heard from the Daydream era, particularly Thurston and Kim. They paid great attention to detail in reproducing this classic album in live form, even throwing in a remixed noisier version of Providence with Mike Watt's phone message looping away in the background.

After such a treat, I actually expected no encore. I didn't really think it fitted in very well with the "Don't Look Back" format. But thankfully I was wrong. I think this may be partly due to Sonic Youth's reluctance to dwell in the past and their keenness to always be creating new music. To much applause, Sonic Youth came back out and performed a number of tracks from their latest album Rather Ripped, as well as an awesome version of The World Looks Red (!!) from their first full-length album, Confusion Is Sex. What a fucking treat. When I last saw them in Brisbane they amazed me and blew my mind by playing Brother James and Making the Nature Scene, and seeing The World Looks Red live really topped things off.

And then, yes, a very quick second encore - Drunk Butterfly from Dirty. I was really tired of standing by that point, but the energy of this song just made me want more and more. I always was a greedy pig. But I knew that was it, and everybody headed outside in a buzz.

I went back super-tired but was (thankfully) convinced to go out for a late night supper at China Bar - my favourite Sin Juk Guen and Siu Mai and a Char Siu omelette on rice. Woohoo!

The next day I had to check out, but my host with the most was kind enough to spend the day with me, hanging around the city and I finally got to see Juno (w00t!) and with so many Sonic Youth references, I suppose that is all too appropriate. Unfortunately, I had to head home that evening .. and it was all over.

And now I'm back in 41 degree heat with a hideous cold, wondering if I can rent my unit out and head to Melbourne for an extended working jaunt. It will probably never happen, but it's so damn attractive right now! I don't wanna go back to work on Monday... and I miss Calculon dearly.


cal_t said...

How could you say no to showing a very well behaved guest when they were host from Brisbane?

cal_t said...

What if in the event I get the Jetstar job?
Will you move down to Melbourne if that's the case ;p?
Ideally I really want to move up Brisbane. I'm going to have to speak to them tomorrow if I ring, I got tipped off to expect a phone call.