A wild range of new-age art books and zines were on display at the recent LA Art Book Fair at Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The event was a sea of indie, and who else would be there leading the way other than Thurston Moore.
The king of dissonance himself put on a live performance on the last day that was more performance art than show. To the surprise of the many hipsters in attendance, Thurston didn’t perform a set composed of typical songs off his recorded albums, instead he took us all for a spin in the hot LA sun with a screechy noise ballad made up of continuous feedback, loops, and tons of distortion.
This should not be surprising for true fans of Thurston — who’s obsession with noise has destroyed the ears of everyone but the truly diehard at some point or another.
And Thurston wasn’t alone, accompanying him was the legendary musician, artist and composer, John Wiese. Wiese sat in the back with a mixer and a laptop, looping all the static, hisses and hums.
The noise set may have clashed with the audience’s expectations of a full rock ‘n’ roll performance, perhaps hoping for some songs off his latest album, “The Best Day.” But instead, Thurston delivered a solid emotional rock performance — unconventional as fuck — but rather appropriate for the LAABF’s appreciation of the avant-garde attitude.
My ears hurt for about a day but I wouldn’t say the set was, as I overhead some tough guy say: “A dick in the ass to everyone.” Because Watching Thurston Moore perform for free in 2015, even if it was a chaotic improvisation of aesthetic noise resulting in bloody ears, it was still quite a treat. The King of Dissonance reigns again. —Asal Shahindoust
Noa Deane at the LAABF. Photo Shane Fletcher.