The cumulus cloud of pot smoke may have been hanging pretty thick over The Fillmore last night, but being stoned wasn't a requirement to enjoy Sonic Youth's third stop in San Francisco in less than five months. The band was wrapping up its brief, six-date mini-tour, making up for canceled dates from September after
bassist guitarist Lee Ranaldo fractured his wrist. This particular performance gave those who didn't make it to the August shows at The Fox and Independent a chance to catch the group, and for all others to gleefully gloat about how many Sonic Youth shows they've seen in the past year.
San Francisco's Sic Alps opened the show at 8 p.m., their driven, psychedelic rock a decent warm-up to what was ahead. It got heads bobbing and crown attention focused on the stage.
By the time Sonic Youth came on stage an hour later, the place was packed and the energy in the room was electric. Rarely have I seen an audience this excited. Like the August shows, the focus was on The Eternal, with the band playing damn near the entire album in exactly an hour.
Fans and band seemed to deem words unnecessary between songs, save for the cat-calls focused on how hot Kim Gordon is and Thurston Moore dedicating "Leaky Lifeboat" to his daughter Coco. Down time was instead filled with the familiar, ear assaulting, experimental wall of sound that melded one number into the next. Setlist highlights included "What We Know" and "Antenna," the latter the perfect soundtrack to an alien invasion.