Smart Bar – Chicago 1985 is not going to change perceptions of either Sonic Youth or live albums: it’s a decent recording strictly for fans. Maybe you’re one.
My first exposure to Sonic Youth was the 100% single , after that I borrowed (the comparatively clean sounding) Confusion Is Sex and an early bootleg from a french exchange student that was horrendously recorded but utterly beguiling. It was still the time where they'd pump Madonna or Roland Kirk songs inbetween their own whilst they tuned yet the sheet metal noise of their own stuff suggested a complete lack of musicality that I'd never heard anything like before. I sort of get now how they link into touring with Swans and how they got signed to SST as their live presence at the time was that intense it fitted well within those bedfellows.
is my favourite. alright there aren't any CHOOOOOOONNNSS on it apart from death valley 69 but the whole thing just flows and sounds weird as fuck.