Chelsea Light Moving at Triple Rock, 3/27/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Steve Cohen

Chelsea Light Moving
With Cave and Cyrus Vance
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
March 27, 2013

In the cover story of this week's New York Times Magazine, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, divulges a popular Italian saying amongst performers in the moment before the curtain rises: In bocca al lupo, which translates to 'Into the mouth of the wolf.'

Last night at the Triple Rock, Thurston Moore and his cracking new band, Chelsea Light Moving, took local music fans directly into the mouth of the wolf with a strident and stunning 75-minute set that found Moore in fine spirits, brazenly leading the group through a tempestuous series of songs from their self-titled debut  -- as well as a couple of brand new songs -- that boldly proved that while Sonic Youth will always be missed, Thurston really hasn't slowed down one bit.

See Also:
Slideshow: Thurston Moore with Chelsea Light Moving at Triple Rock
Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile at Varsity Theater, 7/18/11

After spending a few minutes getting their sound sorted and dialed in, Moore announced sheepishly, "We're ready" before he eventually introduced his band (Keith Wood/guitars, Samara Lubelski/bass & violin, John Moloney/drums), playfully and affectionately saying, "We're Chelsea Light Moving and we're from Minneapolis." The set then started with the slow-burning squall of "Sleeping Where I Fall," which Moore dedicated to Peter Coyote. It was sludgy and riotous, churning with a raw, breathless energy that the band kept up throughout the entire performance. An extended SY-like coda eventually morphed into the discordant, fury-filled riffs of "Alighted," which really set the performance on fire.

"Groovy and Linda" was a dark, doomy number that Thurston acerbically described as "a song about two hippie lovers who went down to the basement and never came back." And, no matter the prodigious talents of the band behind him, this was definitely Thurston's show, as he repeatedly counted off breakdowns in the midst of the wall of noise the group was generating like a plaid-clad indie rock conductor, with the lone microphone set on stage in front of him accentuating the point that he was certainly the main force leading this turbulent charge.

After a particularly raucous take on "Lip," Thurston asked a fan for a sip of their beer, and when he found out it was empty he graciously went backstage and got a beer for each of them, furthering the bond Moore had with the longtime Sonic Youth fans who filled the club. "This is a song written for Roky Erickson called 'Empires of Time,'" Moore then announced before the band tore through a booming rendition of the track written in honor of the legendary founder of 13th Floor Elevators. Throughout the set, Thurston and Co. repeatedly demonstrated that this wasn't the typical tentative first Minneapolis performance that you see from so many new bands -- Chelsea Light Moving were in high gear straight from the start and were there to steamroll the crowd into submission with their explosive new songs.

Photos By Steve Cohen

The blistering, junk-fueled love letter to the legendary William Burroughs, "Burroughs," kept the set churning, as did the experimental East Village hum of "Frank O'Hara Hit," as the two songs formed the most volatile, incendiary odes to writers that I've ever heard a band perform. In fact, the creative ghosts of New York color much of these new songs, as Moore gives an affectionate nod to the city's illustrious, infamous artistic past while also taking that tradition charging headfirst into the future with his frenetic new sonic creations.

"Hold on, I've got to get something -- anyone want a beer?" Moore asked to an apparently thirsty audience. Seriously though, who would ever really turn down a beer from Thurston Moore? "C'mon, I've only got a couple," Moore joked, as he went backstage and dragged out a three foot high Red Bull can/cooler, and the group proceeded to pass out all the beers they had in there to their receptive fans. It was a thoroughly generous moment -- not sure how the Triple Rock felt about it, though -- that again forged a deeper connection between the band and their boisterous fans.

Moore even brought out his backpack during all of this, perhaps digging in there for his own personal stash. But it turns out he had a lyric sheet folded into an old shirt, which he then taped to the mic stand as he lead the band through a spirited version of their new song, "Ecstasy," which Thurston teased during his intro, "We wrote a song a couple days ago, and we're going to try and play it now. We're obviously a little short on material." The lyrics to the track were inspired by a John Donne-related chocolate bar (?!), which continued Thurston's awesome trend of writing songs about authors.

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