Sonic Youth, Hold That Tiger

Joe Gross

By Joe Gross

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The formative years of alt-rock legends

A gnarly slice of guitar clatter from back when the godparents of alternative rock were still underground, Hold That Tiger is a (legitimately released) bootleg of a Sonic Youth show recorded on October 14, 1987, in Chicago. Introduced by Steve Albini — fresh from disbanding Big Black — the quartet rips through a thoroughly righteous, reasonably well recorded set. This is Sonic Youth at a stellar, clanging peak. They were already old hands and scene kings, having moved from art-gallery thud to crude noise rock to a shimmering roar all their own. This set draws heavily from the then-new Sister album; "Schizophrenia" gets cranked up really high and "Kotton Krown" turns from cloudy pastoral to cloud-splitting thunder. Other highlights include live staples "Brother James" and "Expressway to Your Skull"; the four Ramones covers they bang through in the encore are just gravy. Even casual fans will dig the white-hot charge of Tiger.