Sonic Youth's performance in the USSR: history of the band, impressions of the concert, interesting facts
Sonic Youth was formed in New York City in 1981. Its members were Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore and, after several drummer changes, Steve Shelley. They were an important part of the experimental rock scenes America until the early 2000s. The band stood out for its unusual using guitars, tuning them in different tones. They used drumsticks and screwdrivers to change the timbre of the instruments. Sonic Youth had a big influence on the alternative and indie rock movements.
The band started with experimental noise rock, but gradually found their individual style. Their album "Daydream Nation. (1988) is considered the best work of all time. After signing a contract with the major label DGC in 1990, the band experienced commercial success in the 1990s and 2000s. But in 2011. fell apart after Gordon and Moore's divorce. The members stated that the group had ended its career and had no plans to reunite.
Over the course of their career, they have released 16 studio albums, several EPs and singles, as well as a number of experimental albums on his own label SYR. One of them was a collaboration with the musician Jim O'Rourkewho became a full member of Sonic Youth from 1999 to 2005. The band also gave concerts all over the world and participated in various music festivals and projects. It has always provided support to young and independent musicians and artists.
Western idols find their way to the country of the Soviets
Sonic Youth concert in the USSR in April 1989 as part of their tour in support of the "Daydream Nation" album. The band performed in Vilnius, Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev, becoming one of the first of Western bands that visited these cities before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. Sonic Youth struck by local audience with its experimental and noisy sound and had a great influence on young Soviet musicians, such as Evgeny Hutz of Gogol Bordello, who said that Sonic Youth's concert in Kiev changed his life.
Concert in Moscow was held April 12 at the Gorbunov Cultural Center. The band performed 12 songs from their repertoire, including "Brother James", "The Wonder", "Hyperstation", "Eric's Trip", "Candle", "Kissability", "Silver Rocket" and "The Sprawl". Their performance was videotaped and partially posted on the Internet.
Concert in Kiev was held two days later at the Zheleznyak Culture Center. The band played only 9 songs from their repertoire: the musicians didn't have time to perform a full program, because their performance was interrupted due to technical problems. This was the last Sonic Youth concert in the USSR, as the band was forced to cancel the remaining dates of the tour. What exactly caused it remains a mystery to everyone. Maybe because of poor organization or payback. Some believe it was due to political reasons.
Recollections of participants
The members of Sonic Youth shared their memories of their concert in the USSR in various interviews and articles. Here is what, for example, they said Thurston Moore:
"It was very. interesting time, because it was the time of perestroika and glasnost. We were one of the first Western rock bands to come to the USSR. We played in the old Soviet halls that were built for classical music or for communist meetings. The sound was terrible, but the atmosphere was incredible. People were very excited to see us and hear our music, which was new and fresh to them. We felt like we were doing something important and historical."
She also shared her memories Kim Gordon:
"We were on our way to train from Leningrad to Moscow, and it was like traveling through time. We saw old villages, people in traditional clothes, horses and carts. We felt like we were in friend the world. When we arrived in Moscow, we stayed at the Cosmos Hotel, which was very modern and futuristic. We were given rooms with a view of the spaceport where the rockets were launched. It was such a contrast".
And here's what he said Lee Ranaldo:
"We played in Kiev in front of a big crowd of young people who were very interested in our music and culture. They asked us a lot of questions about New York, about punk rock, about politics. They wanted to know more about our world. They also shared with their stories and problems. They told us how difficult it was for them to live in the USSR, about censorship, about repression, about the lack of freedom. They told us that they wanted to change and democracy.
For dessert we decided to leave you some interesting facts about Sonic Youth concert in USSR. For example, did you know that the musicians played Soviet guitars "Ural."that were given to them by local musicians?
The band used them for several songs, such as "Silver Rocket" and "The Sprawl. Moreover, Sonic Youth gave Interview for Soviet television, in which they talked about their music, about New York, and about their impressions of the USSR. They also showed their guitars and explained how they tuned them in different tones and primed them with various objects.
The band recently released a partial recording of a concert in Kiev on their Sonic Youth Archive label for collection of funds to help Ukraine. They gave all the proceeds to the charity World Central Kitchen.