The Williamsburg section of Brooklyn was bustling on a picture perfect spring Saturday night this past May 20th as a New York City guitar legend was back in town with his new band playing theThe Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Thurston Moore returned to New York City with his Thurston Moore Group only a few blocks away from where his previous band, Sonic Youth, played its last ever U.S. show. While that night (8/12/11) on the Williamsburg waterfront was sweltering and packed, this 2017 performance was cooler and much less crowded. Playing with his strong new outfit (Steve Shelley, drums; Deb Googe, bass, James Sedwards, guitar) Moore let his music do most of the talking as his well-worn Fender strings bent and burned.
Opener “Cease Fire” was clanging with a big motor behind it as glimpses of the free lovin’ 60’s swirled around the venue. The set highlight arrived early as the standout from Moore’s recent album Rock and Roll Consciousness “Turn On” showed off what this collection does best. A solid groove and sexy bassline from the rhythm section pushed to the front as both guitars ebbed and flowed, as huge build ups were everywhere and the night came alive via the band’s collective musical voice.
Things became more chaotic with loads of experimental nightmare feedback noises played at screeching loud volume before “doing a song for the Goddess” with “Aphrodite,” complete with an amped up fuzz bass. The slow buildup to “Smoke of Dreams” was well timed before Moore did some verbal shitting on “Ourso-calledd President” playing an extended version of “Exalted” and a gorgeous rendition of “Speak To The WIld” off of The Best Day. Even his first solo album Psychic Hearts got some love as the band wrapped up with more feedback in the middle of a sluggish “Ono Soul”.
As his Williamsburg live performance and recent studio albums both prove, Moore and company are still wizards of extended, adventurous music that can transform any room, anywhere.