Thurston Moore/Mark Gardener - Bodega, Nottingham, 12/11/2014
published: 8 /
At the intimate Bodega in Nottingham, Anthony Strutt watches ex-Sonic Youth front man Thurston Moore, with Ride's Mark Gardener as support, play an intense but versatile set
The Bodega is a very small venue, far too small to host a gig by Thurston Moore so naturally it's sold out.
I arrive early and get there before The Thurston Moore Band arrive, but notice Mark Gardener in the garden being interviewed for what turns out to be 'Drowned in Sound', whom he gives the exclusive that Ride are reforming, which is announced the following week to the world.
My other surprise is that the Thurston Moore Band features, as well as Thurton, another member of Sonic Youth, their drummer from 1985 onwards, Steve Shelley. Debbie Googe from My Bloody Valentine is the other member of the trio. They are doing their own gear, driving themselves and carrying their own equipment in like a young band. I get to speak to all the members, who sign some CDs and records for me and also have my photographs taken with these legends.
In the small hall upstairs Mark Gardener entertains us first, playing a 45 minute set, which includes songs from his new unreleased at-the-moment album, which has been recorded with Robin Guthrie, and his debut release single for Sonic Cathedral, 'The Story Of the Eye', He also plays a few tracks from Ride's debut 'Nowhere', which is now nearly twenty five years old, including 'Polar Bear' and 'In a Different Place', before singing his first ever written song, 'Drive Blind'. I have come through from Leicester, and would have travelled the distance I had travelled for Mark alone, so seeing him has been a real bonus.
Thurston Moore has always been a busy man. He formed Sonic Youth in 1981, and by the time the band had split in 2011 they had released fifteen albums. He has also throughout his career been involved in a lot of side projects. Since they split, the other guitarist, Lee Ranaldo, formed the Dust, and Kim Gordon has written, 'Girl in a Band', a memoir, which will be out via Faber next year. Thurston Moore has released now four solo albums, 'The Best Day', which came out on Matador earlier this year, being the one where most of tonight's set comes from.
From the moment the band step on stage you knows something special is going to happen. Thurston is known for his tuning, and spends a while tuning before the group launch into the first number which lasts for a mere twenty minutes. You would think that the music will be thrashy tonight, but there are different depths tonight, long instrumental jams, soundtrack-styled numbers, and even some soft jazz drumming From Sonic Youth's last member to join. The band may all be in their fifties, but they still have the hunger of a young band in their twenties.
Few numbers get introduced, and the lyrics are so new Thurston reads them from sheet music. 'Only Germs Burn' and the title track from 'The Best Day' are the only tracks which are introduced, which is a grungy, punky track.
After leaving the stage after just over an hour, the band rejoin us for an encore which is introduced to us by a bloke Thurston just met in the gents, 'Psychic Hearts', the title track, from his 1995 debut solo album ends the night, starting slowly and softly until it picks up pace like a speeding train. A great night from New York's finest.