I have a theory about gigs and guitars. The more changes of guitars there are the worse the gig will be no matter the music.
So I remember going to seeing Sonic Youth in their prime some 25 years ago in a club in Birmingham. They had released a couple of albums on Geffen and were riding high but all I can remember of the gig is the time that was spent between songs as guitars were changed over and retuned and then retuned again before the music could start over.
On Sunday lunchtime walking through town I spotted a flyer for the Thurston Moore Band playing in St George’s Hall on Monday evening.
Thurston Moore was one of the two guitarists in Sonic Youth and must have been at least partly responsible for all that time spent retuning and changing guitars. But there was something New York about him playing in Liverpool (another theory – if you spend a week in New York and spot a random flyer for a gig how far out of your way would you go to see it – it works – on the one time we tried it we saw John Lurie playing his saxophone in a redundant freezer in the meat packing district).
I got myself a ticket and went along. The gig was in the old theatre to the side of St George’s Hall where Charles Dickens had stood up to read 150 years ago. The noise, feedback and shuddering reverb should not have worked amongst the gilded pillars and mirrors but somehow it didn’t matter and Thurston Moore didn’t change his guitar for the whole one and half hours and the only retuning was done after sufficient violence had been done to the guitar to justify it.