Kim Gordon Embarks on The Collective Tour

Is there anyone cooler than Kim Gordon?

Imagine going 38 years as the centerpiece of one of rock's most important punk/noise/art bands and finally putting out a solo album that's just as disonnate, just as edgy, just as modern, but without the swirling guitars and all their endless feedback.

In 2015 after decades with Sonic Youth, Gordon famously split from her husband, wrote a book and right before the pandemic, she released the shockingly powerful debut solo album, No Home Record.

"Psychedelic Orgasm" from the recently released The Collective proves what we should have already known: 2015's No Home Record was no fluke.

Why was it shockingly good?

Because who would have thought you could take those exotically tuned, beautifully screeching psycho guitars and big fat drums out of the mix and replace them with equally bizarre hip hop beats and other sounds and it'd be just as intriguing and fresh and adventurous?

It came out wonderfully because at its heart was that familiar monotone speak/singing from the godmother of grunge who has been in our ears and in our hearts since the year punk broke and before.

Quick personal aside: I was attending UC Santa Barbara in 1990 when Sonic Youth was barnstorming behind their major label debut, Goo.

They played the school's largest lecture hall on 11/1/90 and because I worked at the college newspaper somehow I made it backstage and talked with the band.

Sonic Youth, 1990, UCSB.

Everyone except for Kim.

I had questions for Thurston and Lee and Steve about this song and that one and when I wanted to know if "Kool Thing" was a serious diss track against LL Cool J, Lee said, "you should ask Kim."

Kim was not far from us and maybe heard Lee mention her name and maybe she looked up, but I was so intimidated by her whole aura.

She seemed like someone who could chew you up and spit you out with the mere effort of a side eye.

No thanks, Lee, I'll busy myself with anything other than stammering around the voice who was on MTV taunting the super buff Cool James, who had just been walking with a panther.

Kim was the one asking rap's muscle bound, lip-licking, typically shirtless star through one of the '90s best singles, "are you gonna liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression?"

(I don't think so.)

Kim has always been there. Literally underground in 1975.

Even if you were new to Sonic Youth, after 15 minutes of watching them play it was clear she was both the secret weapon and the person dead center on stage surrounded by equally magical beings.

Decades later she still has that mystery factor of darkness before the dawn; of still waters running deep; of being the reliable leader sneering damn the torpedoes as cacophony and mayhem blast around her.

She doesn't hit bad notes, she doesn't miss lyrics, does she even sweat? Of course not.

And at the same time she was also the unofficial voice. Sure, Lee and Thurston rocked the mic too, but when Kim sang it was different.

Likewise when she sings over these disturbing trap beats on her latest release, The Collective, some of which were too punk rock for Playboi Carti, we still feel safe because of her emotionless narrative.

It's Lou Reed meets David Byrne with that slight NYC accent and '77 attitude but now on the west coast waiting for a Boba tea on Melrose Ave. before the Lyft arrives.

Kim Gordon is so punk rock, that tired genre probably feels like a poseur in her presence; much like that college journalist did forever ago.

The fact that Kim is 70 makes perfectly zero sense, just like everything else she's done up until now. She doesn't make the rules. Constructs bend to her will. She defies age, description, genre, and expectations. But do be prepared to rock.

Touring now with a troupe of women who have pulled Gordon's new music out of the maw of hip hop and back into the familiar noisy waters of punk, Madi Vogt (drums), Sarah Register (guitar and keys), and Camilla Charlesworth (bass and keys) are the ideal musicians to support Kim's solo work.

On this tour it all 11 tunes from The Collective, sometimes "BYE BYE" is played at the beginning and the end of the show, along with four songs from No Home Record.

But what is her secret to being so cool? She swears she wasn't born with it.

"When I first began playing onstage, I was pretty self-conscious. I was just trying to hold my own with the bass guitar, hoping the strings wouldn't snap, that the audience would have a good experience," Gordon wrote in her first memoir, Girl in the Band.

"I wasn't conscious of being a woman, and over the years I can honestly say I almost never think of 'girliness' unless I'm wearing high heels, and then I'm more likely to feel like a transvestite. When I'm at my most focused onstage, I feel a sense of space with edges around it, a glow of self-confident, joyful sexiness. It feels bodiless, too, all weightless grace with no effort required," she explained.

Fans around the world will be able to experience the magic this spring and summer as Kim and her band are touring a few more days this month in California. Then she's taking April and May off before heading back on the road in June for stops in the midwest, Toronto and the east coast. In late June they cross the pond for a variety of festivals and end the fun in late July in Japan.

Tickets available on Kim's website.

Kim Gordon β€” 2024 Tour Dates
March 29 – Ventura, CA – Music Hall
March 30 – San Francisco, CA – Fillmore
June 7 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line
June 8 – Chicago, IL – Beyond the Gate @ Bohemian National Cemetery
June 9 – Detroit, MI – El Club
June 10 – Toronto, ON – Axis Club
June 12 – Hudson, NY – Basilica Hudson
June 14 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
June 15 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
June 17 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
June 18 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
June 19 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
June 21 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
June 22 – Vienna, VA – Out and About Festival
June 25 – London, UK – Koko
June 26 – Birmingham, UK – O2 Institute2 Birmingham
June 28 – Graz, AZ – Elevate Festival
July 1 – Munich, DE – Muffatwerk
July 2 – Prague, CZ – Meet Factory
July 3 – Gdynia, PL – Open’er Festival
July 5 – Roskilde, DK – Roskilde Festival
July 28 – Naeba, JP – Fuji Rock Festival

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Last updated: 23 Apr 2024, 08:50 Etc/UTC