Thurston Moore and John Maloney at Space 1026 Last Night / Intensity

Last night I went to see Thurston Moore and John Maloney play in a very small space in Chinatown.  I may or may not have been mildly intoxicated.  And he may or may not have simply played nonsensical noise for 45 minutes.  The only thing I know for sure is that it was amazing.

There were a lot of people in the front room of Space 1026, an art studio and gallery space.  I had never seen a show there before, but I had been there a few times for art auctions and openings over the past few years.  The space was cramped but not hot.  The people mostly looked like they all just stepped out of the 90s, with knit beanies, flannel shirts, ratty sweaters and unwashed hair.  In between sets, the crowd was talking music, looking down, eating weed cookies and anxiously anticipating the start of Thurston's set.  The lights were bright and pointed right at us, as we were against the wall where art was currently being displayed.  It was oppressive and we ended up looking down, just like everyone else.  The air was thick, tense.  

Suddenly I caught a tiny glimpse of Mr. Moore, standing in front of the room, motionless.  "Hey, isn't that..." and the lights went down.  I was standing all the way in the back of the room, which was fine for sound but I couldn't see a thing, as there was no stage.  There were disco lights, dancing around the back walls and ceiling.  I could see those.  They seemed to be going along with the chaotic beat of the drums.

The set started out with light drum sounds, Thurston pulling on his guitar strings to make chirpy shrieks that cut right through the air.  It was so loud.  I waited for it to turn into something more palatable.  It didn't.  The guitar went one way, the drums the other.  The tempo was all over the place, crescendos coming in waves and tugging at my breath.  Sometimes the drums and guitar would match up, for one fleeting moment, but the snarl would soon return.  The whole room seemed to be anticipating this brief connection, it was like we were all holding our breath the whole time.  I began to be swept away by the sounds, which jumbled my thoughts and I started thinking about eternity. 

At some point, I realized that in the dancing lights on the back wall, the black outline of Thurston Moore, flailing about with his guitar, was breaking through the colors, creating visuals that added to the complete body intoxication that the sound was already providing.  I was reminded of the sounds Jimi Hendrix made on Woodstock recordings, burning his guitar.  The music had become a drug for my senses, which started to switch roles:  the sights and sounds became physical and I could feel them touching my face, my stomach, my eyes.  My vision began to blur and I realized that I was in a sort of meditative state and although involuntary, it was perfectly welcomed.  I felt warm and calm and synchronized with the music, lights and everyone around me.  I stopped thinking about when it would end and began hoping it never would.

People all over the room were holding their cell phones over their heads and snapping photos of the light show.  I couldn't move.

When the music stopped, 45 minutes later (I think), the performers put their instruments down and simply walked off up the stairs.  The whole room was silent. 

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