For a cold Sunday night, P.A.'s Lounge was well filled. However, given that
the billed headliner was Bark Haze, an experimental guitar duo featuring
Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore and the mysteriously monikered Gown
(a.k.a. Andrew McGregor ), you'd presume the line would've been around the
block. Somerville! Thurston Moore! Come on!
But this was a low-key, barely publicized appearance where the
preternaturally youthful looking Moore seemed intent on, well, having no
intentions beyond hanging out and, when he was onstage, coaxing and
demanding sounds from his guitar.
Bark Haze, which just released "Total Joke Era" alongside the vinyl "LP,"
each containing different music, is named after a phonetic misinterpretation
of Memphis R&B legends the Bar-Kays , most of whom died in an airplane crash
in 1967 with Otis Redding.
A last-minute switch moved Sunburned Hand of the Man to close the night with
its luscious psychedelic jams. Earlier, following opener Keith Fullerton
Whitman's short electronic set of screeching, squealing sounds pulled from
two keyless synthesizer modules, Matt Krefting (of the Believers ) read
poetry and added an a cappella, unamplified cover of Leonard Cohen's
Expanding to a quartet with drums, bass, and Moore on guitar, Krefting
romped through a cover of the Misfits' thrash operetta "Hybrid Moments."
Clearly Moore enjoyed the moment. He grinned widely as he slipped off his
guitar afterward .
Bark Haze's performance was more languid, but with staggered intense peaks,
all in one continuous piece of music, just 20 minutes long. Moore threaded a
wavering repeated chord around Gown's jangles and clangs. The music grew
bigger as Gown slashed firmly at his guitar and Moore added bubbly high
notes, before the pair ended up riffing together madly. A clamorous squall
erupted, then Gown's wall of notes cushioned Moore's hard repeated chord,
plucked as his whole body twitched like a kid throwing a tantrum.
Of course, it was the kind of guitar noise Sonic Youth fans adore. One
satisfied fan at P.A.'s complained that Sonic Youth's appearance at Avalon
last fall had been too bland. "That was the kind of old-school Sonic Youth
guitar jam that was missing," he said.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.