Sonic Youth / The Go! Team Kool Haus, Toronto, ON - August 8, 2006

You’d think that a band so heavily influenced by another would make for a great double bill but the Go! Team and Sonic Youth proved otherwise. Fresh off a ride on the "hype machine,” the Go! Team ended a stint opening for their heroes with an uneven set that was subject to more hits and misses than a target range for the blind. With a different line-up than the one that left Lee’s Palace gobsmacked last summer, the stage chemistry felt messy, resulting in lacklustre renditions of "Panther Dash” and the SY-inspired "Junior Kickstart,” which suffered from a grating harmonica fighting with loud, discordant guitars. However, when the band were on point with their cheerleading anthems, "Bottle Rocket” and "Huddle Formation” managed to get the feet of even indie rock vets moving. Overall though, the Team felt completely incompatible in an atmosphere that was more dedicated to experimentation than ass shaking. When SY walked on stage, I was anticipating a "this is how it’s done, youngsters” by the always unpredictable and occasionally exceptional indie rock stalwarts (who now include another old hand, Mark Ibold, formerly of Pavement, on bass), and opening with legendary anthem "Teen Age Riot” was like a daydream come true. But once Kim Gordon finished her sultry intro, the band quickly fell apart — Thurston Moore delivered a sloppy vocal effort and they turned in what felt like an abridged version. From there it became the Rather Ripped show, as the ageless foursome cranked out one track after another from their new album. For the most part, they mastered their new material; "Incinerate” and "What a Waste” were rollicking head-bobbers, and "Pink Steam” churned out the best melodies of the night. Engaging versions of classics like "Eric’s Trip,” "Catholic Block” and the sexy "Shaking Hell” helped boost the spirits of SY lifers. But blunders — a timing fuck up by Moore in "Do You Believe in Rapture?” and Gordon’s rickety voice, which bombed on "Jam Runs Free” — and the insufficient 90-minute set prevented this night from being memorable.