Saturday, September 08, 2007

Daydream at the Roundhouse

So Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation at the Roundhouse did have the twinge of nostalgia workout about it (see previous blog entry here). The whole experience of watching bands perform albums in their entirety (as part of the Don't Look Back festival) is still a weird experience - you know exactly what's coming next and in which order the songs are going to be. Viewed cynically, it's simply a band reciting their greatest work without expanding on it.
Yet the gig was still a fantastic experience that brought back so many memories. There's something about it's distinctive tidal wash of oceanic noise and open-ended guitar symphony, with melodies spilling off in all directions, that keeps me returning to it - particularly as it soundtracked years of my adolescent life. Like Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (which I cover in this post), there was something mysterious and intense about the front cover when I first saw it, an image that's about as far removed from punk rock as you can get. At the gig, there was something apt about watching the godfathers of dissonance and noise performing an album that offered a whole new chapter in rock dynamics, and a whole new language with its innovative tunings, at the Roundhouse, where Zeppelin and Hendrix expanded the possibilities of what could be utilized with a rock set-up in the 60's.
Ahh, bliss...those opening chords...

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