Frontman tells east London audience: 'We're keeping things bookish tonight'

Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore played a short solo set at Babble Jar in London last night (June 6).

Moore performed the intimate show as part of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. He previously performed a solo show at Café Oto on June 2.

“We’re keeping things bookish tonight, obviously!” Moore told the crowd crammed into the tiny basement venue. After some early technical difficulties with his amp, Thurston plugged in to play three songs from last year’s ‘Chelsea Light Moving’ album solo.

Each featured long spoken word introductions explaining the stories behind the songs. Moore said ‘Groovy And Linda’ takes inspiration from the double murder of Linda Fitzpatrick and James ‘Groovy’ Hutchinson, found bludgeoned to death in the boiler room of an apartment block in New York’s East Village in 1967. Many consider their deaths as the beginning of the end of the hippie movement in the city, he explained.

Later in the set, Moore dedicated ‘Sleeping Where I Fall’ to Peter Coyote, who wrote a memoir of the same name chronicling West Coast counter culture, including an activist community called The Diggers, in the ’60 and ’70s. “The Diggers were activists who wanted to stay anonymous so their ideas weren’t distorted,” Moore said.

Stapled-together anthologies of poetry Moore has edited, featuring work by other artists including Kim Gordon and Chan Marshall (Cat Power), were on sale on the merch stand. The set ended with an appearance from the saxophonist Alan Wilkinson. The pair played a long piece of improvised jazz that Moore described as “a duel”.

Thurston Moore played:

‘Groovy and Linda’
‘Frank O’Hara Hit’
‘Sleeping Where I Fall’

Chelsea Light Moving are touring the UK this June:

London Village Underground (June 14)
Dublin Whelans (16)
Bristol The Fleece (17)
Leeds Brudenell Social Club (18)
London Meltdown Festival (Thurston only) (19)