The Thurston Moore Group at Liverpool St Georges Hall

Support: Mugstar
May 30, 2017 at Liverpool St Georges Hall

This special event was part was part of the Tonight At Noon festival celebrating the Sound Of Mersey poets of the 1960’s. Aside from a couple of exhibitions, the main even was arguably at St Georges Hall, and the coupling of punk and alternative icon Thurston Moore and his group with Liverpool’s very own Mugstar in support in the grand surroundings of the concert room.

I’d only seen Mugstar once before, and that was a couple of years ago when they supported Dylan Carlson’s Earth. On that night, they were superb and that was despite them being a guitarist down on that occasion. Tonight they had a full compliment of members and they used the impressive acoustics of the room to quite spectacular effect. The band create a mesmerising noise that’s difficult to describe, but its heavy and raucous enough for people like me who like things a bit chaotic, but its also deceptively tuneful and engrossing. The volume is loud and intense, but it never feels too threatening and you can see it drawing more and more people into the room and closer to the stage as the set progressed. Driven along by the immense rhythm section, the band seem to grow with every song and frontman Peter Smyth’s occasional wails and and atmospheric vocals grow with every track. It short but perfect introduction to the evening.

Thurston Moore took to the stage a short while later, almost without people noticing, and started by reading the poem ‘Tonight At Noon’, by Adrian Henri, with his slow delivery picking up on every line of the satirical prose. This was the first in a number of poetic interludes throughout the night that interspersed with a selection of Thurston’s solo work from throughout his recent solo career, including some from his latest album Rock N Roll Consciousness. The tunes often drift into improvised noise workouts, which could easily become tiresome, but to be so close to a musician like Thurston Moore and watch him create all kinds of other worldly noises on his guitar, it all fits together effortlessly. Each track showcases the fact that his solo career is every bit as good and important as his work in alternative legends Sonic Youth. When things feel quiet for the last couple of poems a couple of people in the crowd felt the need to shout over Thurston, but he didn’t let it phase him or trip him up, and he just carried on and took it in his stride, and it didn’t even come close to spoiling the moment. ‘Smoker Of Dreams’, Ceasefire’ and ‘Aphrodite’ all sounded impressively epic in the impressive surroundings and the two encores said all you needed to know about how the show went down with the crowd, as they almost refused to move until they heard more, and Thurston was only too happy to oblige.

This was a unique kind of show, in a very different setting, and it worked better than anyone could have imagined. I’ve seen a few of my musical heroes, and this wasn’t the first time I had seen the Thurston Moore Group, but this was something very special, and the chance to see him at such close quarters as he performed made it a memorable night for everyone. It was a privilege to be there.

Thurston Moore Group

Cease Fire – Turn On – Feedback Jam – Speak To The Wild – Smoke Of Dreams – Aphrodite – Exalted – Ono Soul – Feedback Jam

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