Sonic Youth formed in New York City in the year 1981. They started out as part of the short lived but highly influential New York No-Wave scene. They later found a wider audience and new relevance as leaders in the burgeoning "alternative rock" scene of the late eighties and early nineties.
In 1990 Sonic Youth released Goo their first album with Geffen Records. This move to a major label was controversial at first, but with the release of Goo and it's follow up album Dirty Sonic Youth proved that it was possible to retain complete creative control while on a major label. Their work for Geffen was slightly more polished and Pop oriented than their earlier releases but only slightly. They still made heavily distorted, experimental noise rock, rich with feedback and non-sequiturs.
Most of the tracks from Sonic Youth: Live at Brixton Academy are renditions of songs off of Goo and Dirty. It was recorded live in London December 14, 1992. It captures them at the height of their commercial success and only a few years after the peak of their artistic career. This is a Radio Quality Recording and it is captured from the soundboard.
With most bootlegs you must tolerate a low-fidelity recording to enjoy a glimpse of an artist at their most raw and un-polished. But with this recording of Sonic Youth it is the exact opposite. This show is not particularly unique or special. There are no notable fuck ups or interesting stage banter, but the performance is first rate and as a recording all the songs sound as good if not better than they do in the studio.
The guitars are a little muddled, there is a lot of extra distortion and feedback, and the vocals are not nearly as clear or upfront as they are on Goo or Dirty. Normally these acoustic imperfections would detract from the listening experience, but with Sonic Youth it only makes the songs sound more full and rich. I feel that this live bootleg is probably a better representation of the band and their sound than anything they recorded for Geffen.
Sonic Youth - Live at Brixton Academy, London
01. 100% [3:24]
02. Dirty Boots [4:50]
03. Kool Thing [4:37]
04. Swimsuit Issue [3:03]
05. Genetic [4:04]
06. Theresa's Sound-World [6:11]
07. Tom Violence [3:31]
08. Sugar Kane [8:54]
09. Schizophrenia [5:13]
10. Drunken Butterfly [3:02]
11. Youth Against Fascism [3:29]
12. JC [4:18]