The last time Shanghaiist saw Sonic Youth live was 10 or so years ago on a blistering hot day on Australia’s Gold Coast, as they played the most self-indulgent set of music since Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Twenty-five minutes into one noisy (noisome, even) free-form jam of whiny guitars, we wandered over to the festival’s other stage only to find a heinously drunk Beck (pre Odelay fame) sitting on a stool, almost slumped over the microphone, making incomprehensible attempts to produce music. Ah, those were the days.
None of which means we don’t greet the news of Sonic Youth’s China tour with relish. To quote a commenter on the forum of the SY website: “[This news] makes the Chinese Hooter girls very happy indeed.”
Rumours of the tour had been flying around for some time, but it now seems very official. Oh, hang on: “Subject to the approval of the Ministry of Culture”. This makes us a fraction nervous, particularly as the band’s most recent release is called Rather Ripped.
Hopefully the Ministry will approve, but will the kids of China? (And considering that Sonic Youth formed in 1981, we say “kids” with tongue in cheek.) We think so: in the past we’ve picked up Daydream Nation, Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, and Dirty from various CD stalls around town. Surely a good sign.
And before anyone has a go at us for complaining in the introduction about Sonic Youth’s “free-form noise experimentalism”, we’re not saying we don’t like it. We’re just saying we don’t like 25 minutes of it in one sitting. Twenty minutes is fine.
Sonic Youth play the Shanghai Concert Hall, 24 April. 523 Yan’an Dong Lu (near Xizang Lu). They’re at The Star Live in Beijing on 23 April. Ticket details to follow.
Goo photo by Dead Slow.