Live Review

Chelsea Light Moving, Village Underground, London

Two guitars, a bass, a drum kit, a microphone, but Chelsea Light Moving create sounds beyond imagination.

Shoreditch’s Village Underground is a rock circus tonight, and Thurston Moore is its ringmaster. The shadow of drummer John Moloney pounding the hell out of the floor tom flits across the red and yellow walls, and otherwise there’s no atmospheric dry ice or dim, moody lighting. The light levels are high and the stage set-up is stripped back to the most basic level possible. Two guitars, a bass, a drum kit, a microphone, but Chelsea Light Moving create sounds beyond imagination.

It’s impossible to look away from Moore, who, for the most part, has the demeanour of a teenage boy jamming with his friends in a garage. At times he strums his guitar almost lazily whilst summoning all nonchalance possible. The next moment he’s all over the whammy bar, rolling round on the stage floor, and munching his gum madly between screamed vocal bursts. At one point a crowd member gets a little carried away, and asks Moore to, erm, get out his own member. “What makes you think I have a cock?” drawls Moore in a slightly odd retort, before pelting straight back into a grubby haze of distorted guitar and feedback.

Chelsea Light Moving are having fun, that’s for sure. At one point between songs, Moore slouches across the stage, having a half-arsed look around for something. “Where’s my music stand?” he mumbles, mainly for the audience’s benefit. After producing said stand, he returns again with sheets of paper. The band hasn’t written lyrics yet, he says, so he will be singing ‘The Ecstacy’ by the poet and satirist John Donne. “He was a fucked-up poet” confirms Moore, before ripping apart a famous piece of metaphysical poetry and reconstructing it into a frenetic piece of grunge.

‘Burroughs’ is, tonight, a “riot song for Pussy Riot”. It’s not quite clear why, seeing as the chorus consists of “too fucking bad”, but then again, it isn’t clear exactly why we’ve seen a sort-of-poetry-reading tonight either. All too often with Thurston Moore it is best to embrace the chaos, and enter a world where songs called ‘Duck and Waffle’ are introduced on stage and then abandoned within two chords and an expletive, and where being told about Ricky Ericsson on the 13th floor elevator, and his ‘Empires of Time’ does not faze us even slightly.

Fronting Chelsea Light Moving, Thurston Moore seems to have regained the energy that made him such a catalyst on Sonic Youth’s ‘Dirty’ - energy that we haven’t really seen since. Tonight Chelsea Light Moving harness something special, and come close to capturing the same intangible magic of 90s Sonic Youth.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY