After last Monday night’s show at the Ogden Theater, I’m convinced that Sonic Youth are immortals – beings that refuse to age. What else explains their uncanny ability to remain constantly relevant, prescient – and continuously young – in the face of a culture hell bent on replication of the popular, and often the most vapid? Of course, we could agree that the members of this group of musicians – more a family than a band, really, after nearly 30 years – are intuitive charlatans, well-versed in manipulation of guitar strings, effects, anti-rhythms and atonality, but also steeped in the pop ethos that breeds automatic acceptance – or intrinsic danceability.
But then, you’d also have to explain short lives of other bands that sprung from that same NYC, post-post-punk, “no-wave” noise scene that attempted to espouse that same musical ethos. The truth is, Sonic Youth has proven they’re not only the only surviving band from that movement – but that they’re the most deserving.
They’re the only band that mastered the ability to turn pop sensibility on its ear, wrestle it through dissonant filters, and still know how to present the outcome in an irresistibly accessible way, without giving up any of their D.I.Y., no-wave roots.