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Old 10.24.2016, 11:10 PM   #1
Lee is Free
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IT'S HERE:
http://www.sonicyouth.com/symu/lee/f...R-PLAYBILL.pdf

Just unearthed Lincoln Center Playbill for SY Recital, "Guitar Futurism" - w a real nice text from Byron Coley. The first half of the show was Tom Verlaine/Jimmy Ripp duo.

Date: Friday, November 21st, 1997
City: New York City, New York, USA
Venue: Avery Fisher Music Hall

All instrumentals except Sunday, Hits, and Heather.
Working Titles: Ineffable Me (Proud Marie) / Wildflower Soul (Wildflower) / Female Mechanic (Static Overview) / Hoarfrost (Woodland Ode)
Stil was also labeled as "Hush" on the program.

SET LIST NOTES
Karen Koltrane
Ineffable Me
Anagrama
Wildflower Soul
Hoarfrost
Stil
French Tickler
Hits Of Sunshine
Female Mechanic Now on Duty
Heather Angel
--
Sunday

 
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Old 10.24.2016, 11:11 PM   #2
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[MTV NEWS]

LIVE: THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF SONIC YOUTH
AVERY FISHER HALL MAY NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER AMBIENT PUNKS GO INSTRUMENTAL AT SHOW.

ARCHIVE-JESSE-LAWRENCE 12/03/1997

NEW YORK -- Old Avery Fisher wouldn't have liked it a bit. As he looked down at the grungy crowd from his portrait in the main entrance of Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center, you could almost imagine the old boy turning fitfully in his grave. "Sonic Youth fucking rules!" screamed a fan from somewhere out in the cushioned seats that rose like a great hill from the stage. The exultation bounced around that stately, bronzed, art-deco room as clearly as any four words that had ever been uttered in the hallowed hall. The entire motley audience -- mothers with children, children with children, fathers with mothers, twentysomething hipsters, thirtysomething professionals -- heard it. Sonic Youth heard it. And I'm quite sure that Old Avery heard it, too, if for the first time.

It was to be a night of firsts for everyone Friday; and as with the 2,700- plus Sonic Youth faithfuls in attendance, Mr. Fisher would also have to oblige to the inevitability of change, or rather, evolution. That the evening marked a major evolutionary step for Avery Fisher Hall as well as Sonic Youth was quite apparent. For Avery and the 121 faces of his beloved philharmonic orchestra that line those walls, though, it may be quite some time before anyone takes the next step in that process by inviting anything resembling a pioneering rock band to their home. As for Sonic Youth, evolution can clearly not simply be measured in the restraint they showed as they played a series of ambient instrumental pieces, such as the moody opener "Koltrane," in a shockingly electric yet entirely fitting manner, preferring to make their point musically rather than through stage antics and rock banter.

Galaxies removed from their early, thrashing, punk-cum-Velvet Underground grunge of the early '80s, the hour-long set that night consisted almost entirely of wordless movements. And considering the sonic nature of SYR 1 and SYR 2, the two recent EPs off their own SYR (Sonic Youth Records) imprint from which the band drew several of its songs, including Anagrama" and "Hush" on Friday, it seems that this great mover for an entire decade of alternative, disaffected musical expression, is going instrumental.

Mind you, these were no saccharine, harpsichord-and-wood-flute instrumentals. Not at all. The new face of this veteran band, at least as they showed it that night, was introspective, wandering and ethereal; at times even rough. However, the dissonant harmony patented by Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and Thurston Moore over the last 16 years was clearly in evidence as they slashed and jumped around the stage in their ever-Spartan attire, pulling the sounds from their instruments in new and wonderful ways during renditions of "Wild Flower" and "Woodland Ode." It was as completely innovative and lapidary as any music they've ever made.

Yet despite the audience's undying attention, halfway into the set, a green- haired youngster shouted to his shaved-headed sweetheart that they might not play "Teenage Riot" or "Schizophrenia," or "Starfield Road" for that matter -- some of their classics. And he was right. Nothing off of Goo or Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star or Daydream Nation or their most recent studio full-length release, Washing Machine, found its way into the hallowed hall. Apparently, for Sonic Youth, Avery Fisher was not a venue in which to reminisce of days gone by. Having emerged in this city around beer-stained dance auditoriums such as S.I.N. Club and Pyramid, Sonic Youth is certainly aware of the heritage that those storied, bronzed balustrades hold. It was a knowledge reinforced over the course of the evening, as they showed their rapacious, if not slightly bemused, fans what the future of Sonic Youth might look like.

As such, the choice to emerge into their new self upon this most staid of stages, was absolutely appropriate. At times, as the crowd sat comfortably and orderly in the subdued serenity of Moore's sub-aquatic riffs, Sonic Youth seemed on display, lacking the furious band-audience dialectic so wont of their performances. Heads shook, feet tapped and some seats even creaked. Occasionally, a fan would pop up from his or her seat to let out a resounding holler of admiration. Overall, though, the impression was one of observing a diorama of rock 'n' roll transformation, the refinement of a generational-angst and the establishment's acknowledgment thereof.

The applause that rose after each of their songs, including a new one, "Heather Angel," set for release next year, would begin loudly, raucously and, after a moment, reluctantly trail-off, as if coming from a white- collared crowd at a symphony; tittering, polite and absolutely appreciative. At the end of the set, Sonic Youth thanked the crowd several times before leaving the stage. The crowd, however, wanted more and they began to get reckless. After a rhythmical exhortation of stomping, clapping, yelling and screaming, Sonic Youth emerged from behind the curtains. As they once again strapped on their guitars and Moore brushed aside his shaggy bangs for another go, you could sense that a return to the past was imminent. Gordon gave off a quick four-count and they launched into oldy, "Sunday," off the Surburbia soundtrack, a song whose beat was distinctly familiar and always welcome. As they played, a few people in the front few rows stood and danced in the aisles. From behind me, lights beamed as ushers on both sides walked briskly toward the stage to restore order. But there was to be no more of that. Fans began to pop out of their seats randomly, and as they did, the aisles began to fill. In a moment, people seemed to be coming from every direction: running down from the upper levels, pushing their way out from the middle of rows. The ushers ran toward the pack, but they could get no further than 10 rows in. The hardcore SY fans flooded the space and bounced like pogos amid shrieks of delight that echoed off the ceilings. Someone lit a cigarette.

As the song continued, the aisles filled completely, and an usher stood imprisoned by bodies. It was a sight to be seen, the world of Avery Fisher for a moment coming off its axis. A thousand violin strings popped, and Old Avery began spinning furiously in his box. Of course, Sonic Youth knew what they were doing. So, as determinedly as they had begun, they did the only thing possible to set the axis back straight -- the only thing that would allay Old Avery's torment: They stopped. And after Sonic Youth had left the stage and the lights flashed back on, a few solitary shrieks echoed around the bronze hall as the green, red and blue hairs moved on

Thur., Dec. 4, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]
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Old 10.24.2016, 11:12 PM   #3
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[TransACTION]

GUITAR FUTURISM
at Avery Fisher Hall,
Lincoln Center - November 21, 1997


by Deklin Green

Sonic Youth is a band with whom I have a love/hate relationship. They are a band who, within the same song can display both art school pretentiousness as well as brilliance. They have released truly great rock and roll records (all their releases) but for some reason always feel the need to constantly reinvent themselves in some avant garde way, (Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore sharing stages and billing with free form jazz artists and Kim Gordon flirtations with Japanese noise bands).

When I first heard that Sonic Youth were playing Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in a performance called "Guitar Futurism," I cringed. I mean who did this band think they were? I imagined Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Steve Shelley thinking that this would be their coming out party, a sort of debutante ball for twentieth century composers; their chance to join the ranks of the Steven Reichs and Philip Glasses of the world. I envisioned the audience at this show would be a bunch of geeky college boys straight out of their philosophy and cultural studies classes staring at the lanky poster child for the college rock intelligentsia, the geek gone cool - Thurston Moore. I saw hordes of "womyn" paint barely dry on their homemade dresses. I assumed that Sonic Youth wouldn't be playing the songs on their records which make them stand out as one of the greatest rock bands of the last 15 years, but instead droning out some noise in the name of anti-rock. The absurdity of it all made this an event I did not want to miss.

I arrived at Avery Fisher Hall in time to see the second half of Tom Verlaine and Jimmy Rip's instrumental set. Within seconds my fears about this show were coming true. What I saw on stage were two older men sitting on stools, guitars plugged into a bunch of digital delay and echo pedals, noodling out atmospheric "sounds." The audience was polite, some even enthusiastic, toward what the guys behind me called "postmodern pop." Whenever there was a break in the sound we all clapped. I was disgusted-Tom Verlaine, a man who was part of Television, one of the most original, exciting, and interesting bands to ever play rock and roll (rock and roll only because we don't know where else to place them), playing this. Listen to Marquee Moon and try to figure out where Television came up with their sound, who were they influenced by, try to figure out how Verlaine and Richard Lloyd (the other guitarist in Television) came up with their guitar parts-each completely different from the other yet fitting together and complementing each other perfectly. Tom Verlaine: from the brilliance of Television to sounding like an eighteen year old kid who has just discovered digital delay pedals, marijuana, and Dark Side of the Moon. I went to lobby to sip some red wine and discuss film.

At Avery Fisher Hall I was able to hear, for the first time, the Sonic Youth that the band had always heard in their own heads; the Sonic Youth that Thurston Moore wishes everyone could hear, as opposed to when they play a some shitty concert hall and parts turn into mere noise.

During intermission I read the program for "Guitar Futurism." Anybody who wants a good laugh should get a copy of this program and read what a mister Byron Coley has to say about Sonic Youth. I have never read a more pretentious, hyperbolic, string of platitudes in my life. Sentences such as "Sonic Youth's four members combined hepster knowledge culled from four separate corners of the bohemian globe." ...and,"While most bands have back catalogs that wither into nothingness, like rabbit turds in a forgotten corner of the nursery, Sonic Youth's previous works combine with their current ones to expose new aspects of a Euclidean whole."
What in the world is this guy talking about? I took a deep breath and prepared myself for one of the most absurd and disappointing performances I had ever seen. The lights went down, the band took the stage, and then the music started. What followed was pure..brilliance.

I realized that I was completely wrong about how I had envisioned what this show at Lincoln Center would be like. The band can't be blamed for their fans, the guy who writes their blurb in the program, or the opening band's inadequacies. The only thing that Sonic Youth were wholly responsible for was their own performance and they lived up to this responsibility fully. They were everything that makes my three favorite Sonic Youth albums (Daydream Nation, Sister, and Evol) not just great experimental rock records, but great rock and roll records. It was pop music turned inside out, 4/4 drum beats played in reverse; guitar playing that realized it is not about how many notes you can play in a certain amount of time, but that it's about playing the right notes at the right times; that it is about tone and not about volume. They played new songs I have never heard before (some were off the recent SY1 and SY2 E.P.'s) and each song was interesting and was performed well. The band keep my attention the entire time that they were on the stage. I wish I could explain just how intense it was to hear a rock band play in a classical music auditorium. Every note could be heard. For the first time in my life I could hear the tones of the toms, I could hear how Steve Shelley had his drums tuned...the drums were not only the back beat of the group, but they became an instrument of the band carrying on their own melody line just as the guitars were. At Avery Fisher Hall I was able to hear, for the first time, the Sonic Youth that the band had always heard in their own heads; the Sonic Youth that Thurston Moore wishes everyone could hear, as opposed to when they play a some shitty concert hall and parts turn into mere noise.

Sure there was the Allen Ginsberg dedication, as well as a pretty poor scat singing attempt by Kim Gordon, but when the band shut up and played they were one of the best bands I have ever seen, and one of the best bands every single person in that concert hall had ever seen. People were starting to get up out of their seats and were walking up the aisles to the front of the stage. I thought that maybe the concert would end with everyone out of their seats, Lincoln Center security fighting to get everything under control - a perfect end to this Sonic Youth show. By the last two songs about a quarter of the people were up and in front of the stage. I was thinking that it was going to happen, that the entire audience was going to get up and rush the stage, bridge the gap between rock and classical, and bring some danger back into rock and roll.

The last note died out, and everyone started to file out of Avery fisher Hall. There was no stage rush, no riot, there would be no headlines in tomorrow's news about the "crazed youth at the Sonic Youth show." On my way out of Lincoln Center I thought again about how wrong my expectations of this show had been, I thought about how if anyone hadn't delivered at this show it wasn't Sonic Youth, it was their fans.

1998 ©TransACTION Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 10.24.2016, 11:13 PM   #4
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A Thousand Leaves One Sheet
Byron Coley

Kimberly Gordon: baritone saxophone
Thurston Moore: harmonica
Leonard Ranaldo: celeste
Steven Shelley: glockenspiel and little instruments

As is the bud bit with an envious worm
Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,
Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.
--William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

Many of the songs on this, the 14th album by New York's most beautiful apple, were debuted at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall this past winter. For the benefit of those who were unable to attend, I can only say that it was one of the most gorgeous evenings of phosphorescent tonal huzz that the Center has hosted since the Holy Modal Rounders played there in the early '70s. Curved beam pulses of laser-like sound emanated from each instrument, setting brains asizzle in every aisle. Then, inverted, genteel tone clusters expanded slowly in the air until they formed a rainbow-colored web of sound that floated down onto the listeners' heads, smoothly cushioning them against the gouts of high energy spew that every attendant tongue was Pavlovically anticipating.

"A Thousand Leaves has a lot of the songs that we debuted that night," says Steve. "So I think some people were expecting it to be an instrumental record. And it is. It's just that a lot of the instrumentals have had words added to them. People shouldn't get too hung up on the format." What Sonic Youth delivered that night at Lincoln Center was a musical toast to the end of the millenium. There were equal parts of end-time-singer/songwriterism and post-serialist-electro-acoustic-hunch, all perfomed inside of an identifiably rockist context. The band's mix of signals and sounds was absolute. It was almost as though they had cracked the code of Smile and transported it to a long-post-CBGB future. If they had broken into a cover of either Tim Rose's "Long Haired Boys" or Jerry Hunt's "Transphalba" it would have seemed entirely appropriate. They appear to be very nearly at the point of syncretizing all the knowledge they have gobbled over the years. And their appetite for information has never been questioned by even their staunchest opponents.

"A Thousand Leaves is the first album that we recorded entirely in our own studio," says Lee. "The studio has a different name every time somebody asks one of us what we call it. So, in a sense, every song was recorded in a different studio and was shaped by the identity the studio was assuming at the time each individual song was recorded." "Yeah," says Steve. "Because of the circumstances, the material evolved both faster and slower this time. Since the studio and rehearsal room were one in the same, the songs were generally caught in a very early stage of development. I think they'll change a lot when we're out on the road playing them. By December, they'll be very different and ready for our Budokan live record."

"The album represents a slow tracking of ideas," says Thurston. "These are really the earthly recordings of SY. Of course, we didn't do it entirely alone. Coco helped Wharton [Tiers] with some of the mixes. She'd turn the light off when it was time to make a cut. She' was privy to development of material in our apartment, so she was able to help translate our vision to the engineer. Don Fleming helped rope in vocal work, too. No one else could figure out where my mouth truly was."

Since they began, in New York City, simultaneous with the odious birth of the Reagan era, Sonic Youth have been among the world's premier musical gourmandizers. From their very beginnings - as avatars of what would eventually transmorgify into America's dominant guitar-rock paradigm - Sonic Youth's compositions relished the discord of disparate ideas as much as the discord of detuned guitars. They were already weaving threads of the Wilson Bros.' lyrical visions with the guitar sheets of Remko Scha and Rampton, the note clouds of Iannis Xenakis, and the rhythmic bup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, when today's bands were still wetting their beds.

"The album's title comes from the fact that we're gonna stop after 1000 albums," says Thurston. "Each album we record is a leaf. I see this one as an oak, Lee sees it as a willow, Steve sees a fern, Kim imagines a hibiscus bush. By the process of identifying each record with a certain type of tree I feel like we'll finally start to get a real handle on the workings of photosynthesis and be able to create a new kind of air. And isn't that what it's really about?"

"Actually," say Kim. "I see this album as a thousand plateaux of a headless organism." "And the cover art is by Ecstatic Peace recording artist, Marnie Weber," says Thurston. "The image is a reference to Unlimited Edition by Can. But you knew that."

Throughout a career that spans nearly two decades (and is longer than the combined careers of the Beatles and Coltrane's "classic quartet"), Sonic Youth have continuously expanded in both horizontal and vertical stylistic planes. While it is safe to say that they have certain signature sounds - a chimingly propulsive motif, specific patterns of string-disharmony, three instantly-recognizable vocalists - the ways in which their overall sound has evolved is less defined by standard incremental steps than it is by amoebic blossoming. Unlike most bands, whose new musical interests and discoveries are transparent and immediately highlighted, Sonic Youth have never allowed themselves to be so lazily obvious. The musical knowledge that they accrue between recordings is filed along with already what's already in their cabinets, and it is referred to for reasons of aesthetics rather than novelty. Thus, it would be possible to misidentify several of the selections on A Thousand Leaves as having originated in other parts of the band's lifespan, unless you are acutely attuned to their constantly evolving sophistication as regards stylistic collaging. As with each of their albums, A Thousand Leaves is evidence of growth in all directions—backwards as well as forwards, into pop as well as away from it.

"It's worth mentioning," says Kim. "That the song, 'Female Mechanic on Duty' was inspired by 'Bitch' by that famous Lilith-type female singer, Meredith Brooks. It's an answer song." "I have a particular dislike for that song," says Steve.

"But this is really the start of a new thing for us," says Thurston. "In an attempt to make our LPs dateable, we'll now include an answer-song to some aspect of popular culture on each LP. We're not, as some people maintain, obsessed with pop culture so much as we're obsessed with its possibilities for stratification and dateability."

--Byron Coley, Deerfield Ma 1998
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Old 10.25.2016, 12:11 AM   #5
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Yo, Lee!! Thanks for everything you guys showed me
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Old 10.25.2016, 03:40 AM   #6
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thanks for posting this Lee. nice read. I wish I would have seen SY's instrumental set of A Thousand Leaves live.

but at least..
http://db.etree.org/myshows_detail.php?showid=8526297
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Old 10.25.2016, 07:44 AM   #7
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thanks
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Old 10.25.2016, 04:16 PM   #8
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Lee! Thank you so much for sharing this. These unearthed bits of history really mean a lot.

Is it possible that we'll see some 90's era archival releases in the near(ish) future?
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Old 10.25.2016, 07:12 PM   #9
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This was my first SY show (of many)...
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