Wilco; Sonic Youth

Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers -- pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock.

With:
Bands: (W) Jeff Tweedy, Leroy Bach, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche; (SY) Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Jim O'Rourke, Kim Gordon, Steve Shelley.

Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock.

Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home turf, backed off a bit from the unfettered experimentalism of their recent live sets, building slowly from quietly brooding to flat-out frenzied. Deliberate renditions of “Rain on Tin” and “Eric’s Trip” erred a bit on the side of timidity, which might have had something to do with the unusually low volume emanating from the stage.

While it didn’t get appreciably louder, the set took a U-turn at the midway point when guitarists Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Jim O’Rourke decided to dispense with finesse and finicky tunings and simply kick out the jams. That mission was accomplished with a one-two punch from the Youth’s youth — a scorched-earth “Catholic Block” and a menacing, inexorably chugging “Making the Nature Scene.”

Headliners Wilco moved into the hazy heat stealthily, not so much cutting through the murk as matching its unctuous foreboding. Frontloading their set with gnarled, exacting songs like “She’s a Jar” and “Muzzle of Bees,” Jeff Tweedy and company seemed intent on providing a sonic analogue to the rapidly encroaching dusk.

Tweedy gave full rein to his pensive side during the 75-minute set, which made for a mesmerizing “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” but weighed down the cyclic “War on War,” which outstayed its welcome. Energy levels leaped noticeably during encore renditions of “We’ve Been Had” and “Kicking Television” (the latter of which featured a cameo from O’Rourke).

Wilco; Sonic Youth

Central Park Summerstage; 7,000 capacity; $30

Production: Presented by New York City Parks Commission and Heineken. Opened June 26, 2003; closed and reviewed June 27.

Cast: Bands: (W) Jeff Tweedy, Leroy Bach, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche; (SY) Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Jim O'Rourke, Kim Gordon, Steve Shelley.

More Music

  • Drake Adult Swim Upfront party

    Drake Drops Two New Songs: 'God's Plan' and 'Diplomatic Immunity' (Listen)

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • Fredo SantanaLollapalooza Festival, Chicago, America -

    Rapper Fredo Santana Dead at 27

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • Rihanna France Concert Canceled

    Rihanna to Perform at Grammys With DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • Tom Petty Died of Accidental Overdose,

    Tom Petty's Family Says He Died of Accidental Overdose

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • RCA Records Names John Fleckenstein, Joe

    John Fleckenstein and Joe Riccitelli Upped to Co-Presidents at RCA Records

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • swint disney

    Disney Hires Apple Veteran to Launch Its Netflix Killer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

  • Album Review: Fall Out Boy's 'MANIA'

    Album Review: Fall Out Boy's 'MANIA'

    Open-air summertime rock shows are usually marked by bouncing beach balls and tunes designed to sate short-attention-span fist-pumpers — pretty much the antithesis of the fare served up at this Central Park stopover for two of the more reflective bands in post-alterna-rock. Sonic Youth, cast into the odd position of opening act on their home […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content