In case you missed it … Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth played two shows this past weekend in a little Logan Square club called The Burlington. Despite Moore’s fame, the gigs seemed to be a bit under the radar. They were part of the four-day Neon Marshmallow, a diverse and sometimes daring music festival event that was held in the Empty Bottle and Viaduct Theatre in prior years. I wish I could’ve attended more of the festival this year, but other things on my schedule got in the way. But I did manage to catch Moore’s performance on Sunday night — which was especially cool because it featured Moore collaborating and improvising with Frank Rosaly, one of Chicago’s most inventive drummers.
Rosaly made skittering, clattering noises with his kit — occasionally holding cymbals and other percussion pieces instead of drumsticks — creating rhythms that skipped around in unexpected patterns. Moore was using old-school equipment — just one electric guitar, a few pedals, an amp and a couple of bars or tools to assault his strings. Together, they painted an abstract sonic landscape. Near the end, Moore laconically leaned back against his amp, taking his hands off his guitar and letting the feedback ebb and flow. Across the stage, Rosaly was the manic opposite of Moore’s frozen figure, attacking his drums with a rapidity that approached the impossibly fast hammering of woodpeckers. And then Moore abruptly lunged to the middle of the stage and stomped on a guitar pedal just as Rosaly shut himself off and brought the noise to a climactic halt.