With a career spanning three decades, Sonic Youth have had their fair share of fiery live shows. But we’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a particularly sweat-inducing performance in Philadelphia, 1995.
Having started in 1981, by the time Sonic Youth had fully risen to the top of the indie pile in 1995, they had garnered a sparkling reputation for some powerful live shows.
The band were on the promotion run for their album Washing Machine when they stopped at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory to give the waiting fans are night they would never forget. It’s a moment in time that sees Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo nearing the height of their fame.
Earlier that year, they had headlined Lollapalooza and were only a year away from being immortalised as Simpsons characters because of it. SY had become a fully-realised outfit of rock stars and despite their best intentions, they had become poster-boys for the alt-rock nation.
Such public estimations can sometimes weigh heavy on a band. Lesser acts have crumbled under their newfound popularity, in fact, many of the group’s counterparts had done the very same. But Sonic Youth had a stronger core than most bands and that steely resolve is what rings loudest in the clip below.
The set begins with a powerful rendition of ‘Expressway To Yr. Skull’ and it sets the tone for what’s to come. They provide a raucous and chaotic performance which, despite using a lot of Washing Machine material, shows off their timeless appeal. Sonic Youth are as dangerous and vibrant as their no wave beginnings but also apply the intelligence and integrity that saw them break out as not just another rock band.
As they maraud around the stage, dark and brooding as it is, the group deliver squealing moments of fear and joy in equal doses and it’s a testament to why they were so dearly loved during their three decades in the spotlight.
Watch Sonic Youth let it rip at ‘Washing Machine’ show in Philadelphia, 1995
Source: Brooklyn Vegan