Monday, August 03, 2009

Who I Used To Be

Sonic Youth / Awesome Color
The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA

August 2, 2009

Sonic Youth (SY) are a band who will always be associated in my mind with the original xeroxed version of Umlaut. Back in 1992, SY gave Umlaut major props in their fan club magazine; click HERE to revisit that watershed moment. Also, the band will always hold a special place for me due to the respect and honor they paid to a departed friend a long time ago (R.I.P. Jason).

Fast forward to the 21st Century and, THANKS to Hard Rock Chick's generosity, this was the first time I had seen SY since The Clinton Administration. However, I'll simply cut to the chase although I know what I'm about to say will lose Umlaut cred with some old friends: Very early in the set I had the profound feeling I was back in 1992, but my head was NOT there at all. I realized that the vibe of the show was simply too passive for me at this time in my life, which bummed me out because SY used to be so important to me; Daydream Nation kept me company during some lonely times back in The Day.

Maybe because it had been so long since I last saw them, but on this night SY reminded me of the person who I used to be and, to be honest, that made me feel old. I can hear many of you saying "WTF??" but it's true... Umlaut's evolution as a person has never followed a traditional path. Compared to Amebix, Shellac, Leonard Cohen, Isis, Slayer, and even Green Day, SY did not engage me in a way that made me feel like I was living in MY moment. At this point in my life, I need concerts to be as close to all consuming experiences as possible and I didn't get that from SY here in 2009. Of course, I can still appreciate their avant garde and DIY approach to their music, but unfortunately my head isn't *with them* anymore to appreciate it. Leaving the show I almost felt like saying out loud "Bye bye Miss American pie.. I drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry" because that's how I felt. Yes.. that reference is COMPLETELY random... but that's how my head works sometimes when I'm typing a rant like this at 12:30AM.

If you bought one of every Sonic Youth merch item you would have paid $130. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. As I'm typing this I'm listening to Daydream Nation and I'm feeling kind of old; I think I need to put on some Slayer instead.

Pictured: Umlaut's vintage Goo Tour shirt from The Warfield, S.F. - Halloween 1990 show.