Concert Review: Thurston Moore at Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA
Reviewed by: Holly Kalinski
The first time Thurston Moore played at the Somerville Theatre, it did not end well. Moore told the packed house last week that he dropped his guitar on stage, retreated to his van, and did not come out for the rest of the show. Moore told the crowd, “People greeted me after and said I did great!” They may not have missed him that night, but many fans would have been disappointed if Moore pulled a similar stunt at the great show they attended last Tuesday.
The show opened with guitarist Kurt Vile. It is hard to believe that Vile’s guitar parts were played by one person. One could easily close their eyes and picture multiple guitarists on the stage. Unfazed by the slow trickle of people coming in, Vile mesmerized those present with his complex guitar parts and soothing, low vocals.
Moore’s set began with “Blood Never Lies” from his 2011 release, Demolished Thoughts. Moore was accompanied by a second guitarist, drummer, violinist, and harpist. The focus was on the musicians, and the absence of stage effects and fancy lighting made it easier to enjoy the show. The violin and the harp were a unique edition, and contributed to the ethereal quality of the music. Moore was quiet during the beginning of the show, but stopped before a few songs to read excerpts of poetry. Moore later warmed and told a few stories, one of which culminated in spitted beer onto guitarist Keith Wood to replicate a photograph, much to the dismay of those sitting in the front row.
Moore and crew also performed, among other selections from his two releases, “Circulation,” off of Demolished Thoughts. The driving guitar rhythms combined with a unique blend of guitars and intermittent violin captivated the audience. All of a sudden in the middle of the song the mood changed: Moore and his crew sped up until they could not conceivably go any faster, Moore’s hand a blur across the strings of his guitar. Moore’s membership in Sonic Youth and “noise band” history came into clear view as he approached the speaker with his guitar, intentional feedback bleeding through the speakers.
While Moore’s solo endeavors are very different from that of Sonic Youth, similarities shine through the more subdued style and song structure of his “chamber pop” releases. It was apparent that many in the crowd were longtime fans from their silence and focus throughout the show. They were indeed pleased that Moore decided to stick around.