Gigs, dance, art

August 29th, 2007: Sonic Youth / Peter Brötzmann & Mats Gustaffson

@la villette

Or the hell of expectations. At first I hadn’t planned to attend this gig, then relented for two reasons: someone I know was selling a ticket and Han Bennink was opening for them (with Peter Brötzmann). I still love Sonic Youth, but I don’t like crowds.

It didn’t start all that well for me, as Han Bennink could not make it and was replaced by Mats Gustafsson. I happen to like Gustafsson, but I was far more curious about Bennink, because I only heard a few things. I liked what Gustafsson did, even though I again failed to get Brötzmann; maybe I’m a lost cause. I think what I don’t like about him is that he’s either playing too fast or too slow for me. But that performance had its very good moments, they managed to really interact and play some interesting stuff. So I guess it turned out OK.

The first set of the main act was a long improvisation set where Sonic Youth were joined by Mats Gustafsson, Jean-Marc Montera and Michel Doneda; I had never heard of these two guys. I really liked it despite its shortcomings. There was first a gradual build up of a very nice wave of sound, then more rhythmic patterns eventually dissolving into other waves. It was a bit disappointing because I could not hear much of Gustafsson’s playing, and I thought SY were maybe a bit too cohesive compared with the others. But I should have know better: it must be real hard to play with their usual lineup and less known musicians at the same time, improvising to boot.

The second set was material from Daydream Nation and Rather Ripped. I like these records, but I never was very intrigued by hearing these played live. Too efficient maybe. The major exception is Hyperstation, but they didn’t segue into it after The Wonder, even though I really thought they were for a short while. Another expectation. I also hoped they would be at least as adventurous as usual, with their opening a Jazz festival. But it was the tamest show of theirs I’ve seen. I blame the material: maybe these songs are not open enough.

Their three guests were back for the encore, joining at the end of Expressway to yr skull, and they finally let loose and went into their more experimental mode with more feedback and assorted mistreatment of guitars. And Gustafsson was more assertive, even though Sonic Youth were doing their thing. So the gig ended on a high note for me, which was bittersweet.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment