Cult musician Thurston Moore had been advertised to play The Hi-Fi in Brisbane’s West End last Saturday night. Well, he came all right…but he brought some new friends. In the wake of Sonic Youth’s hiatus, Moore recently formed the new band called Chelsea Light Moving, and if you hadn’t already guessed it, they were there! Accompanying the lanky Yankee on stage was Keith Wood on guitar, John Moloney on drums, and the talented Samara Lubelski on both bass and violin. Dubbed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and armed with his famous jazzmaster fender, Moore put on a clinical display of gungy art rock.
There was a quick introduction of the new band on stage, and perhaps a little bit of confusion, as they wasted no time leading with the band’s début song, William S Burroughs. Any stray thoughts were cast aside when their guitars joined forces in a flurry of hard-hitting rock riffs, sure to please any Sonic lovers.
On stage he combined music with segments of historic storytelling about generations past. A modern day poet, he told of tales that defined his music in reflection of his life. Softly spoken, his first story was about three hippies who were murdered in 1968 for nothing more than expressing their love. His sentiment for Groovy and Linda turned into a heavy rock ballad about youth in a society hell bent on discipline.
One new song Empires of Time, explained Moore, is dedicated to psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson, while Frank O’Hara Hit makes reference to the likes of Dylan and Jagger, as well as the late great poet. However, it wasn’t all about Chelsea Light Moving this night. A selection of solo material mostly from his 1995 album Psychic Hearts was played throughout the show. Tracks such as Patti Smith Math Scratch and Ono Soul themed an artist-retrospective set list.
Between songs, Moore pulled out a little packet of tissues and blew his nose, with his face away from the audience. “It’s spring time,” he said, “You know…all the flowers”, proving he is human after all.
Dressed in blue denim jeans and an untucked white collared shirt, this veteran rocker showed absolutely no signs of age as he danced up and down the fret board. How do you stop a man with music in his veins? The simple answer is – you can’t. Chelsea Light Moving’s album will be ready for your ears in March, 2013. Until then, all you guitar-heads and Sonic fans be sure to catch Thurston in the raw on this Australian tour.