Thurston Moore Group @ La Sala Rossa July 18, 2017

Thurston MooreThurston MooreThurston MooreThurston MooreThurston Moore

T hurston Moore, creeping towards 60, shows Montreal that you don’t need a fancy guitar to be a rock star.  The first thing you notice from the Fender he played most of the evening, was the lack of switches and buttons, which apparently decided to pursue a life of ease.  If his guitar was in a fight, I assumed it lost, as it seemed to have seen better days.  Thurston and his bandmate Lee Ranaldo (whom visited our city in January) are known for having a plethora of guitars, unorthodox tunings and can milk any sound out of them.  While tonight, only two guitars dared to join him on stage, they did live up to their promise.

Doors opened at 8:00, but apparently, the doors where in another time zone and only opened a few minutes before 9:00 PM.

Jessica Moss

Jessica Moss

Jessica Moss came on stage, solo with her violin and sample pedals.  She told us she would only play one song, but it was 25 minutes long.  The song would tell the story, musically, about refugees going from danger to safety.

Thurston is all about experimentation, and Jessica did her own.  As she started, we felt the desert heat hit our faces, like we were leaving an exotic bazaar to go on a journey.  Her song felt like a movie soundtrack, but unfortunately, I wasn’t there to watch a movie.  At several points, you could hear some loud laughing.  I don’t think it was directed at Jessica, but it was a little distracting none the less.  While her set wasn’t my cup of tea (actually, I’m more of a coffee guy…) it was cool for certain parts.  I did not however enjoy the layers of vocals, which to me took me out of the soundtrack and wondering how much longer this was going to be.  The cheers from the crowd proved that many appreciated the journey even if I wanted off after 10 minutes.

Thurston started quietly with “Cease Fire” which quickly gave us that “Sonic Youth” feel that we all love.  The songs would lead to jams and feedback then return like a small detour from the scenic route back to the recognizable song.

Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore

Right before Thurston started, an amateur photographer barges through in front of me.  I can only assume he is an amateur as he literally would snap no less than 200 shots per song.  His little handheld camera being pushed to the limit.  For the first half of the show, all I saw was his elbow propped up as he snapped away furiously getting shot after shot of the same man, at the same angle.  I have a lot of respect for photographers, our site has some of the best photographers in Montreal and I’m always blown away at the shots they can get in the three songs they are allowed to shoot.  A professional gets the money shot, moves on.  Happily, an opportunity arose when someone left and as starred at his little camera, replaying the last shot, I made my move and got in front of him, where I could finally enjoy the rest of the show.  At least he didn’t use a flash like someone else at the other side of the room, as that would have put me over the edge (where I would politely ask him to get a life).

As Thurston starts the first notes of “Speak to the Wild”, the crowd is audibly pleased.  You can tell Thurston is in the zone, eyes closed during the jamming sessions, fully immersed in the experience, just as the sold-out crowd joins him on this voyage.

Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore

“Smoke of Dreams” take it down a notch with a mellow groove and soft voice.  Thurston would take his time between songs, have some light banter with the audience, even crossing the stage to shake the hand of a female fan who asked how he was doing.

They ended the set with Exalted which crescendos into a heavier version of itself.

The encore consisted of “Ono Soul” from the 1995 Psychic Hearts.  Although only 9 songs were played tonight, we felt we had a full show.  The songs would go from the structure we recognize to a journey of expression through different levels of intensity before settling back into the structure.  Each song takes a life of its own, a 12” version so to speak.

Thurston Moore Group

Thurston Moore Group

The set was barely over, and Thurston bounces out of the back stage to the merch booth to sign records and take pictures with fans (myself included).  Ten years my senior, this man is electrified by the night and energy is still pouring through his veins.  His appreciating of the fans does not go unnoticed and I’m sure the merch sold more than those bands that isolate themselves.

Exhausted Fender

Exhausted Fender

The sold out crowd lingers outside, still buzzing from a great experience.  I can’t help thinking of our annoying photographer who will have to go through 2000 fuzzy shots and wonder why he can only remember Thurston from the angle of his viewfinder.


Cease Fire
Turn On
Feedback Jam
Speak to the Wild
Smoke of Dreams


Ono Soul

Review & Photos– Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and Business coach with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube.

Share this :
Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and Business coach with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

One Response to “Thurston Moore Group @ La Sala Rossa July 18, 2017” Subscribe

  1. Randal August 3, 2017 at 12:49 am #

    Nice shot! Well…I stand corrected. I did write what I felt at the time, when you first squeezed in front of me and started taking shots. I didn’t mind at first. I truly respect photographers and bands usually give them 3 songs so as not to disrupt the rest of the show for the other guests.

    I wasn’t able to enjoy the first part, because of the elbow thing…so I thank-you for letting me go in front of you, where I tried to not block any further shots.

    I do take notes during the show, unfortunately, which I try to do at a minimum. Mostly song titles to create the setlist. I do have an article to write afterwards…

    If we cross paths at another show, say hi. I will buy you a beer and you can show me that camera, now from a different perspective. I’m not a photographer and I always prefer it when we get both a reviewer and a photographer, but alas, I was on double duty that night.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Slayer to play Montreal as part of their final tour.

Yesterday metal legends Slayer announced they will tour the world one last time before calling it a day. Today they […]

The Devil Makes Three + Roebuck @ MTelus – 19th January 2018

In September of 2016, I took a blind gamble on seeing The Devil Makes Three at the Corona Theatre. I’d […]

Stick To You Guns’ Jesse Barnett – Love Hardcore, Hate Violence

Stick To Your Guns frontman Jesse Barnett has explained how, although he loves the hardcore scene, he could live without […]

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan dies aged 46

The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan has died in London at the age of 46, her publicist says. The Irish […]

Bon Jovi announce Bell Centre show

Global rock icons and newly announced Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2018 inductees Bon Jovi have announced the spring […]

Montreal Rocks – Best Albums of 2017

Here at Montreal Rocks, I think it’s safe to say we struggled to choose our favourite albums of 2017. There […]