Concert Review: Sonic Youth & The Feelies @ Wilbur Theatre (11/22/09)

Artist(s): Sonic Youth, The Feelies
Location: Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, November 22, 2009
Grade: A+

The Feelies:
I can safely say I was feeling the the Feelies haha. Nothing too special, but decent. I sensed some really catchy material and I could tell the young to the young at heart audience dug it; particularly one fan who was wildly dancing, to the point that it looked like he was having a seizure a la Ian Curtis. This continued during Sonic Youth’s set lol. I’m surprised he took a break in between performances! Anyway, the band seemed pretty chill, making very little contact with their fans. With that being said, the lead singer/guitarist rocked out and hopped and bopped a little. I might listen to them more, I haven’t decided; either way, they were a solid opening act. Clearly, the audience was pleased enough with their performance that they applauded long enough to elicit an encore. An encore for an opening band? I’ve never seen it. So, hats off to them!

Sonic Youth:
It never ceases to amaze me how cool, hip, YOUNG, Sexy( especially Kim in her black and white dress!) and all around mysterious these guys and gal appear to be. When Sonic Youth hits the stage, it’s not “Hello, Boston are you ready to rock?! Now we’ll kiss your ass with all our hits you know and love!” Nah, lame for these Artsy Fartsy hipsters. Instead they produce an enormous, four guitar assault, simply a Pounding, Pulsing Wall of noise,feedback, distortion, and killer tunes! Not to mention a crazu light show to complement the music. They essentially played their latest album, The Eternal in its entirety, minus “Thurnderclap For Bobby Pyn,” one of my favorites, but that’s okay. They played the somewhat new songs in no particular order with a few tracks from their 1980s catalog as well. One of the most memorable moments for me was when Thurston laid down frontwards on the stage and practically scraped his guitar across it, generating some sweet, guitar sounds. Everyone else, except the Nightwatchman, would have fucked up their strings and created some cacophanous racket. As of now, SY holds the candle (no pun intended) for best encore, previously held by King Khan & The Shrines. They kicked right into “The Sprawl,” track 3 from 1988’s Daydream Nation and followed it in sequence with track four, “Cross the Breeze,” an amazing powerhouse. Then they said peace and left the stage. But, that wasn’t good enough for us! We screamed for our No Wave heroes to return and return they did for Encore 2. I don’t think I’ve seen 2 encores by a band, but for some reason I feel like I have, either way it could not compare to the Supreme Genius of this or else I would have stored it better in my psyche. So, they blasted into “What We Know,” a new classic from The Eternal and finished the terrific evening with the 80s bizzaro Americana anthem, “Death Valley ’69.” Definitely my favorite song all night. As the married couple of Thurston and Kim made their way backstage they playfully pushed each other around like teenagers flirting with each other in the hall between classes. That’s pretty cool, considering they have been married for 25 years!

Overall: This is a well-deserved A+. I loved every moment of Sonic Youth’s set and I dug The Feelies too. This concert ranks as # 5 for all time best concerts. In fact, SY were, musically, the best performers I have ever seen, with The Shrines, Radiohead, and Dinosaur Jr as moderately close rivals. The cool thing about these folks is the fact that they can be so damn, high energy and engaing and at the same time, so modest and mellow. It’s very fascinating, to say the least. Simply stated, seeing Sonic Youth is a spectacular attack on multiple senses!Pixies have tough competition, but I think they can do it…

Glen: I wouldn’t argue with Chris on SY’s performance. Stunning. If I had done my homework and listened to more of The Eternal before this show I’m sure this  would easily be a top 5 concert. It was nice to sit down and bask in the glory of the sound around me, but an all-time favorite for me is one where I’m standing front-row and doing various “dances” such as the pogo, mosh, or head movement all while basking in the glory of the sound. That said this show made “Death Valley ’69” an instant favorite for me and made damn sure that “‘Cross the Breeze” is freaking amazing. I’d give this show an A.

Here’s the setlist with the name of the album each song appeared on.

1. “No Way”
2. “Sacred Trickster”
3. “Calming the Snake”
4. “Stereo Sanctity”
5. “Walkin’ Blue”
6. “Anti-Orgasm”
7. “Leaky Lifeboat (For Gregory Corso)”
8. “Shadow of A Doubt”
9. “Antenna”
10. “Malibu Gas Station”
11. “Poison Arrow”
12. “Tom Violence”
13. “Massage the History”
——-Encore Break——–
14. “The Sprawl”
15. “Cross the Breeze”
—–2nd Encore Break—-
16. “What We Know”
17. “Death Valley 69″

1-3, 5-7, 9-11, 13, 16- The Eternal (2009)
4- Sister (1987)
8 & 12- EVOL (1986)
14 & 15- Daydream Nation (1988)
17- Bad Moon Rising (1984)


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