Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Two-and-a-half years after the release of "No Home Record," former Sonic Youth mainstay Kim Gordon finally launched her first solo tour at 68.
One would most label this a night of performance music with an intense and very dense main set of heavy sounds permeating to the crowd of 300, a third of a house amidst at times hard to penetrate lyrics.
The backing band of guitar, bass and drums set the instrumental tone from the opening notes of "Sketch Artist" with Gordon occasionally playing guitar, although sometimes not strumming a note until well into the song. On the closing number, "Grass Jeans," Gordon created lots of feedback by retreating to the rear of the stage and holding up her the wall and later holding it by the strap to the speakers.
While the lyrics were not entirely transparent, one sensed that Gordon is content to rail against life's ills. In "Get Yr Life Back," she cites "The end of capitalism/winners and losers" along with "The blood is over flowing/The streets are wet."
On perhaps the most straightforward – if that word could be used – song of the main set, "Air BnB," one supposed that lines like "Air BnB/could set me" were decidedly tongue in check.
Her singing could be as pained sounding as the music – a bit on the art/punky side - further breathing a sense of detachment. This was neither pretty music, nor pretty subject matter, but would one suspect anything less from Gordon.
Decked out in sparkly cool looking pants and a black shirt, Gordon made sure it was her music – she played all of "No Home Record" with the first seven songs in order - that you came for. Aside from a few "thank yous," Gordon was icy in her delivery, lacking any sense of warmth. Then again, given the subject matter...
The encore of "Hungry Baby" and "Grass Jeans' provided a far more uplifting ending – from the musical side anyway. The latter harkened back to noisy punk days with a buzzsaw guitar, impassioned vocals and the rhythm section setting the beat. "Grass Jeans" was downright melodic compared to the rest of the set, which clicked in at one hour.
Gordon's music certainly was, nor will be for the masses. But after a long wait, Gordon deserves much credit for staying true to her musical muse.
Bill Nace, who is one-half of Body/Head with Gordon, opened and made perfect sense. Nace performed but two very long, very noisy droning, industrial pieces. Nace sat down with an instrument on his lap that he plucked and strummed while twisting dials. With songs clocking in at 19 and 16 minutes, Nace created whooshes of walls of sound that were not for the faint of heart.