Home Read Sonic Youth | New York, NY • CBGB • December 13, 1988

Sonic Youth | New York, NY • CBGB • December 13, 1988

The noise-rock vets unearth an archival recording from the New York punk Mecca.

I was lucky enough to see Sonic Youth play a bunch of times over the years. And like every punk fan who goes to New York, I made the pilgrimage down to the Bowery to see CBGB. But I never had the pleasure of combining the two experiences. So this new live archival release of SY at the punk Mecca will have to fill the bill. Thankfully, it does that pretty nicely. It was recorded a few months after they released their magnum opus Daydream Nation and just before they made the jump to a major label. So the band are fully and completely at the height of their indie-rock prowess and powers, tearing through classics like Teen Age Riot, Eric’s Trip and Silver Rocket — plus Bad Moon Rising‘s I Love Her All the Time and The StoogesI Wanna Be Your Dog — with all their dissonant art-rock intensity and poised post-punk attack in full effect. Considering the size and acoustics of the venue, the sound is surprisingly impressive, with Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo‘s guitars separated in the stereo mix. And while drummer Steve Shelley, bassist Kim Gordon and all the vocals could be a little brighter and more prominent, this 55-minute noisefest still beats any bootleg you’ve got by a mile. It’s a cool thing.

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