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Thurston Moore Group

Manchester Gorilla

June 2017

Live Review


In some kind of neat conjuring trick the irrepressible former Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore has managed to reinvent himself whilst maintaining a veneer of what made him so loved in the first place.

With a  killer line up for his current band he has kept for Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley whose metronomic grooves underpin the band’s sound – perhaps less of the complexity of the Sonic Youth period exchanged for a perfect post rock groove – that minimalist simplicity that is far harder to pull off  – a motorik moving away from the pulsebeat that creates the perfect head nod factor for the packed audience – on bass is Debbie Goodge moonlighting from My Bloody Valentine taking he customer stage centre but next to the drums position playing that elongated bass runs, driving and pushing the music along for the twin guitar assault that sounds so familiar and yet so different. Thurston still has his big bag of guitar tricks but there is also a stripping down of the armoury – lots of rhythmic shrapnel to contrast with those beautiful and delicate sections that are entrancing with the interplay with James Sedwards parts that are always melodic and imaginative.

We remember James from twenty years ago when his young band Nought were trying to merge from the Oxford undergrowth – he was  a stand out player then and it’s great to see that he has got his space to be acknowledged now playing with one of the key architects of the modern dance. Not that james is playing a back up role – the key to this is the meshing and mashing of the two guitars – its beautiful and violent building from stark beauty to full on noise and its always hypnotic – less bent out of shape that the great Lee Ronaldo and always on its own terms and that makes for a perfect alchemy for the band with the permanently boyish Moore hunched over his mic delivering his quicksilver vocals.

The band play their recent Rock n Roll Consciousness album and it really comes to life live, the entwining, the seat of the pants improvisations, that heavy groove, those pastoral lulls and explosive noise breakouts – it’s stunning stuff and the audience are hooked in. This is no mere treading on past glories but a bold move forward from a selection of musicians whose combined CVs are like historical document but are as restless as ever.

The reaction is set the controls to heart of the stun, the room is full of love as Thurston dedicates songs to the 22 and how our music community must embrace ourselves against the terrorists and with this soundtrack we feel unbeatable with a rock n roll consciousness.


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Excellent gig ,typically well-described in its wider context by the estimable Mr Robb.The rhythm section was indeed dynamic from the outset ,powering the melodic/ discordant guitar sound so redolent of Sonic Youth .’Smoke of Dreams’ on the new album is as good a song as I’ve ever heard by Moore in my 30 years as a fan .Meeting him afterwards was a nervous ,awe -inspiring experience , but what a c-o-o-l guy ,tolerating my wired gate-crashing skinhead vibe with great patience and good manners , taking the trouble to find a pen to sign my album cover when I hadn’t brought one ! He thought the gig was ‘a lot of fun.’ The other band members were very amiable ,too , equally-pleased with their performance.In sum ,an ace roll’n’roll night at my fave Manc auditorium !


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