|The Vancouver Sun
July 10, 1992
Now we have The Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, L7 and House of Pain at the PNE Exhibition Bowl on Aug. 7. Tickets are $23.50, plus service, and go on sale Saturday, as do tickets ($20.50, plus service) for the Los Lobos gig at 86 Street on Aug. 9.
The Vancouver Sun
August 10, 1992
Early-evening pile-driver of a concert proves punk rock can still rule
BY JOHN MACKIE
BEASTIE BOYS, SONIC YOUTH, L7, PNE Exhibition Bowl, Aug. 7
PUNK ROCK was supposed to have died about the same time as Elvis. But like the King, it keeps rising from the grave to blow the minds and eardrums of new generations of rock fans. Case in point: the Beastie Boys/Sonic Youth/L7 gig at the PNE Exhibition Bowl Friday night. Each band works different musical territory - the Beasties rap, Sonic Youth experiment with guitar noise, and L7 pounds out a grungey beat that's just this side of hard rock. But they all share a punk attitude. Like, they were born to be baaaaad.
Because the gig had to be wrapped up by 10 p.m., L7 went on ridiculously early, just after six. But the trashy quartet from L.A. made the best of the odd situation, laying down some nasty sounds. It's not hard to figure L7 out: its music tends to be pretty raw and heavy, lyrics tend to be blunt (e.g., "wargasm wargasm one two three, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the amputee"). But that's just great, 'cause it makes the songs ridiculously catchy, easy to shout along to, and often funny as hell.
L7's members are quite a sight live: they whip their hair around, they flail at their instruments like rock stars should, they rock and they roll. Oh yeah, and they're all women, women who like to dye their hair strange colors and have butts hanging out of their mouths while they play. They'll probably never be as technically proficient as, say, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but when guitarist Donita Sparks shifts into full screech on their big anthem, Sh--list, it's totally awesome.
Sonic Youth kicked things off with Teenage Riot, which guitarist Thurston Moore dedicated to the Vancouver hardcore punk scene. Sonic Youth likes to go mental onstage, which results in some dynamic rockers (Sugar Cane, Swimsuit Issue) and a lot of strange sonic experimentation, like when Moore took a couple of drumsticks and starting pounding on his guitar. They're such sticklers for experimentation they change guitars most every tune - a necessity, 'cause pretty much each song features a different guitar tuning, or sound. But amidst all the musical mayhem, they're quite melodic, almost poppy.
Most of the 3,300 in attendance looked to be there for the Beastie Boys - half the crowd went apewaste when Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA hit the stage. The Beasties were as young, loud and snotty as ever, jumping up and down like deranged kangaroos, or maybe budding psychopaths. There's lots happening in the Beasties brew: exotic samples, some wicked scratching, a sense of humor and anarchy in the lyrics. It's all delivered with this incredibly gnarly attitude, the hyper-annoying whine of suburban kids gone delinquent.
After a while, though, the Beasties lost their intensity. Picking up guitar, bass and drums, they thrashed their way through some punk and grooved their way through some "sexy" soul/funk. It would have been great for about 45 minutes, but at an hour and a half, it got a little much . . . like a dentist's drill that finally cuts through the tooth and hits a raw nerve.
Knowing the Beastie Boys, though, this was probably deliberate.