Sonic Youth: Live In Brooklyn 2011 [Album Review]

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Sonic Youth
Live In Brooklyn 2011
Silver Current Records [2023]

Sonic Youth will undoubtedly secure their place in the history books due to their profound influence on the alternative and indie music scenes, especially throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Renowned for their sound experimentation, they seamlessly integrated elements of noise, feedback, and unconventional guitar tunings. By challenging conventional song structures and delving into novel sonic prospects, they left an enduring mark on the evolution of noise rock genres. Beyond mere song creation, Sonic Youth’s approach to music extended into the realm of crafting a comprehensive artistic experience. Their impact was not limited to auditory realms; their album artwork, live performances, and collaborations with visual artists collectively forged their identity as a band that defied boundaries between music, art, and performance.

The void created by their breakup is woefully underestimated. However, Live In Brooklyn 2011 adeptly captures the enchantment. On August 12, 2011, Sonic Youth graced the stage for their final US show, encapsulating all the magic they had cultivated over the years. Live in Brooklyn 2011 was originally made available in 2020 as part of several official bootleg releases by Sonic Youth. Now, thanks to Silver Current Records, it stands as the first live recording from that batch to undergo mixing, mastering, and receive a physical release.

From the moment the band graced the stage, it became abundantly clear that this concert event was far from ordinary. Sonic Youth’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of music was unmistakable, as they fearlessly plunged into a setlist that traversed their extensive career. They kicked off the performance with an explosion of raw energy, instantly captivating the audience’s attention through a fierce rendition of four iconic tracks from the late 1980s: “Brave Men Run (In My Family),” “Death Valley ’69,” “Kotton Krown,” and “Kill Yr Idols.” This opening sequence set an unmistakable tone for the rest of the show.

One of the evening’s standout moments was the band’s seamless transition between different eras of their discography. Timeless classics such as “Eric’s Trip” from Daydream Nation harmoniously interwove with newer deeper cuts like “Calming The Snake” from 2009’s The Eternal. From the meticulously curated setlist to the palpable electric chemistry on stage, this recording encapsulates everything one could hope for in a Sonic Youth live encounter. Every song in this compilation is met with thunderous applause, a testament to the crowd’s enthusiastic response.

This performance serves as a moving reminder of their legacy. It’s not just a concert but a testament to their journey. Sonic Youth’s dissolution left a void that’s challenging to quantify, making their last performance even more significant. Live In Brooklyn 2011 succeeds in immortalizing the essence of Sonic Youth’s artistic prowess, allowing their influence to resonate for generations to come.

“Brave Men Run (In My Family)” / “Calming The Snake” / “Eric’s Trip”

My Bloody Valentine / Swans / Dinosaur Jr.

In/Out/In (2021)

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Christopher Anthony

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