Thurston Moore Comes Home With Sold-Out Concert at Wadsworth Atheneum

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Thurston Moore, shown here with guitarist Keith Wood, performed Saturday at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. (Photo by David Emery)

Thurston Moore drolly referred to his solo music as “soft rock” Saturday night at the Wadsworth Atheneum, but it’s not the sort of soft rock you’re likely to hear floating wanly through the recessed speakers in the waiting room next time you’re at the dentist.

Come of think of it, some of the music wasn’t even all that soft.

The Sonic Youth guitarist, a Bethel native and Northampton resident, played a selection of songs from a pair of solo releases in front of a sold-out crowd (including his mom) in the little basement theater at the museum, pausing between songs to read poems or tell stories about his teenage years in Connecticut, which mostly seemed to involve going to concerts: seeing Kiss at the Springfield Civic Center in the ’70s remains one of his top-five shows, Moore said.

He switched between 12- and 6-string acoustic guitars on songs with lush, flowing arrangements augmented by another acoustic guitar player, a violinist, a harpist and a drummer. The combination of rich, resonant 12-string guitar and the wave-like swell of violin resulted in deep musical texture on “Blood Never Lies,” while the harp added a sharp, chiming element to the dark, sprawling “Orchard Street.”

Although Moore sang in a whispy murmur on songs from last year’s “Demolished Thoughts,” he turned up his vocal presence on tunes from his 1995 album “Psychic Hearts.” That was a noisier affair, then and now, with drums that lurched and reeled on “Queen Bee and Her Pals,” a thick layer of violin blanketing the steady beat and chugging guitars on a re-arranged version of the title track and a huge burst of dissonance erupting through the taut, loping riff on “Ono Soul.”

He ended the main set with the moody, sweeping “Circulation,” from “Demolished Thoughts,” and then returned for a three-song encore comprising tunes from “Psychic Hearts”: the fractured blues workout “Pretty Bad,” which veered from quiet to loud and back; “See-Through Play/Mate,” which Moore described as “a 1995 kind of thing” with jagged spikes of noise; and the swift, laconic “Feathers.”

Prana-Bindu, a band featuring Moore’s brother, opened the show.

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5 thoughts on “Thurston Moore Comes Home With Sold-Out Concert at Wadsworth Atheneum

  1. Gene Moore

    Could Eric Danton have said less about Prana Bindu if he tried? It was totally insulting.Yea maybe he doesn’t get this kind of music but a LOT of people did and none more so than Thurston Himself.Would it have killed Eric to investigate what this musics about? Thurston would have been MORE than glad to have talked about it and Eric would have had a REAL story instead of dishing the same old boring rehash.

    1. Eric R. Danton Post author

      That wasn’t meant as a diss, but it wasn’t your gig. Let me know when you’re headlining and I’ll be happy to focus on your band. Hell, we can do an interview anytime where you can talk at length about the music and your philosophy.

      1. Gene Moore

        OK cool maybe next time-I’ll be headlining at the feeding tube Jan 25th and at the glasslands march 18th- just released a record Cosmic Hallways.
        Thanks-

  2. Matt Lx

    Well I won’t do it justice, but I’ll say a little something about Prana Bindu. First off, I don’t immediately align with every artist that plays the creative, at times less melodic, music that is typically labelled experimental. I suppose those who like genre labels would indeed label Prana Bindu as an experimental rock band. Whatever.
    I’ll label them amazing. I couldn’t easily find the transition between pieces. Instead I was just mesmerized by the continuous soundscape – accented by the brilliant guitar work. I could have listened to another 2 hours without taking a break. And I don’t want to slight the balance of the band. Together they are an evolved work of art. I dabble with the guitar and perhaps that’s why was so fixated on whatever fascinating things were happening over there.

  3. Rich Banz

    Great show – great venue. A sold out show in Hartford (that’s 300 people) – one with artistic merit, no less. Very proud of my town and it’s people. You showed there is still an audience hungry for good music.

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