Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth - Helped re-define Rock at a time it was in danger of losing its way.

Sonic Youth – In Concert From Portland – 1991 – Past Daily Backstage Pass

Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth – Helped re-define Rock at a time it was in danger of losing its way.

Sonic Youth – In concert at Memorial Auditorium, Portland Oregon – April 9, 1991 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Sonic Youth this weekend. Perhaps a fitting time to give them a listen, certainly when dramatic reassessments of where music is going appear to be springing up everywhere (i.e.; reactions to Coachella). Sonic Youth came in at a tipping point where Punk was heading in many directions and eventual burnout, Techno was reintroducing the audience to the Dance Floor and the Mainstream didn’t have to succumb to Tenax and Safety Pins in order to preserve the Musical status quo. Radio was busy trying to locate an identity and corporate takeovers were changing the face of the Music Industry forever, and not for the better.

So here was Sonic Youth, first formed in 1981 as a sort of No-Wave alternative and experimental statement of the New York Art scene. But as time went on and evolutions occurred (as they always do), they became synonymous with something new and exhilarating. For want of a more dynamic name, Independent Rock or Indie as it came to be known, stood out as the tent that assimilated a lot and made it unique and personal. In a not-too dissimilar fashion, it probably owed as much to the Underground Music scene that emerged in the 60s – but with many more technical advances, the DIY Ethic that came with home recording studios and the ability to achieve a vision without compromise.

By 1991, Sonic Youth became a household name and were achieving mainstream success after some 10 years – further proof that all movements, no matter what or who, are started underground or by a confederation of outliers to eventually become “discovered” and grabbed (often appropriated) by the mainstream.

To get an idea what Sonic Youth were up to during this pivotal point, here is a gig they performed in Portland at the Memorial Auditorium on April 9, 1991.

I always say “crank it up” – this time I mean it.

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