Uncut’s 50 Best Gigs – Extra!

Exclusive to Uncut.co.uk - Today: Nicky Wire tells us about Sonic Youth in Cardiff in 1988

Trending Now

In this month’s UNCUT, our writers, friends and favourite musicians reminisce about their favourite gigs.

The October issue, onsale now, features our best 50 – including Jimi, U2, The Band and Oasis – with rare photos from the shows too.

Now here’s some more – we’ll publish one everyday this month – including online exclusives on gigs by Manic Street Preachers,The Stone Roses, Pixies, Beach Boys, and Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones and Babyshambles’ Adam Ficek‘s favourite live memories too.



Sonic Youth

Cardiff University, 1988



It was really severe noise terrorism at its finest, and I just thought Thurston Moore looked absolutely translucent on stage, barely alive and hunched and mumbling away. Kim Gordon became one of my bass playing heroines, I love women bass players. D’Aarcy from the Pumpkins, Kim Gordon and Melissa Auf Der Maur.They did “Teenage Riot”, it was even better than the record, which I barely ever say – I’m not the most prolific giggoer. They smashed their guitars at the end and the drummer trashed away, it was proper noise, hard to hear a tune at times, but really confronting and really challenging too.

They looked great, they were really run-down, but kind of chic as well, something about them was just unbelievably cool. James [Dean Bradfield] and I went, he loved it too. It was the age of discovery, walking round to Spiller’s Records and picking up American bands, also post-C86 stuff, it was a great time. That’s what I wanted to do with my solo album, almost try and be a little bit elitist about it. There’s that great quote from Roddy Frame where he says “I won’t reissue my seven inches, I won’t put them on CD, because some records should be rare.” Back then, it felt like you were part of some vague notion of the underground. It was a good time to be young, you had to look for stuff, it wasn’t on a plate.

I think it was their prime, pre-Geffen. I still think Dirty is a great album, but Daydream Nation’s the one, the reissue out at the moment is fantastic, really gorgeous. It did influence us, actually – obviously we were never going to sound like them, coming from Wales and being who we were, we had quite a lot against us, we had to be more cartoon, more Ramones-esque, larger than life. In terms of rock theatrics, Sonic Youth had it all. It’s a myth that they just stood there, shoulders slumped, banging away on their guitars, it wasn’t at all. It was kind of swirling, mesmeric, really self-contained – they barely addressed the audience.

There was some deep-rooted arrogance there which I love! Kim Gordon held her bass really low, which I thought was brilliant, it made it more difficult to play. Their obsession with modern iconic culture was an influence too, it definitely influenced me and Richie – their obsessions with Marilyn Monroe and the whole trash culture thing. I’ve been listening to them loads actually, I’m having a real Indian summer with Sonic Youth.



Not even UNCUTs war-weary gig-hounds have been to every great show in history – but you lot probably have.

Email Allan_Jones@ipcmedia.com, or share your memories in the comments box below, of the ones we might have missed, and we’ll publish the best in a future issue!


Latest Issue