“We’re new…Sorta,” intoned Thurston Moore near the beginning of his band’s set at Sydney’s Metro theatre. Sorta indeed. Not only is Moore a living legend, but so is every single member of his band: an assemblage of noise rock pioneers, all have been drawn from such game changing groups as My Bloody Valentine, Nought and, of course, Sonic Youth.
Not that Moore was being entirely disingenuous. The current line-up of the Thurston Moore Band have been playing together for a measly year – nothing compared to the decades that Sonic Youth spent riding the cutting edge – and indeed, there was something distinctly fresh about the lengthy, free-form set they played at the Metro.
Songs bled into other songs; guitar solos stretched and flattened; slow-build introductions took up to ten minutes to totally unfurl. It was exactly as progressive and ambitious as one would expect from Moore. But never let it be said that it didn’t rock. Indeed, the entire set managed to walk the fine line between the primal and the intellectual; it was the kind of gig you felt in the pit of your stomach as much as you thought about it.
The material was mostly drawn from Moore’s most recent album, The Best Day, with a lengthy, frenetic version of Germs Burn taking up a significant chunk of the set’s length. But Moore kept things varied too, drawing the mood to a head with a tender version of Speak To The Wild, and an untitled track from his new, as yet unreleased album.
It was transcendental, trembling stuff. But what else would one expect from Moore, now a very veteran; a pioneer, even? Throughout it all he was relaxed and as effortless as he appeared eight years ago, back when he played Daydream Nation from top to tail with Sonic Youth across these shores. He acted almost as if the music didn’t matter; as though it were a natural extension of his very being. But when he took to the mic to thank the audience, and to dedicate the songs to friends old and new, it was very obvious that the music did matter; that it mattered most. That’s Moore in a nutshell then; effortlessly devoted.