by The Spin
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Firstly, let this review also stand as a public service announcement to warn future concert goers that when the War Memorial Auditorium says a show starts at 8 p.m., it starts promptly at 8 p.m. Fortunately, The Spin had some friends inside that gave us the head's up via text and dragged us away from the wine binge we were enjoying just a block away at the art crawl.
We arrived just in time to catch the last tune by the aptly named opener, The Entrance Band. Seems the band had been noodling away on some groovy, psychedelic jam pop for quite some time before we arrived, the echo of War Memorial's spacious digs complimenting their sound well.
Once the lights were lifted, we were somewhat surprised to notice ourselves surrounded primarily by teens and college kids. If there were any aging hipsters around, they must have been laying low in the balcony. Either way, the "Youth" in Sonic Youth may not apply so much to the band anymore, but it's a descriptor still well-befitting of their audience.
Much like always, Sonic Youth had little to say before and even during their set which focused primarily on their newest material from The Eternal. The band played all but one cut from the album which, judging by the crowd's reaction, was a disappointment to no one. Flawed-yet-perfect harmonies were juxtaposed over fractured spatterings of guitar wail while drummer Steve Shelley pushed it all forward with cerebral four-on-the-floor drumbeats. The band's signature flood of guitar feedback is all but gone and while they're famous for using stage time for a meandering noise jam or two, there was none of that tonight.
Hearing the new record live was definitely worth the price of admission, but we have to admit to being extra stoked to hear the band dig back into Daydream Nation for "Silver Rocket" and "The Sprawl." Though they'd just served up 13 straight hits of blissfully melodic noise, the set seemed over all too soon. Though, seeing the guitar techs storm the stage immediately after the last song to re-tune didn't make the encore all that much a surprise, we sure as hell weren't prepared for the double dose of '80s awesomeness we got with "Pacific Coast Highway" from 1986's Sister and Evol's "Shadow of a Doubt". The band then proceeded with a second encore which included the face-melting "Death Valley '69" from 1985's Bad Moon Rising.