Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

Sonic Youth

When it was announced that NYC underground rock legends Sonic Youth were going to play Live on the Levee — the free concert series on the Arch grounds mainly known for booking mainstream-leaning acts — reactions ranged from "Is this a joke?" to "Holy fucking shit." But the May show announcement was no joke — and on a balmy mid-July night, teens, twentysomethings, parents and toddlers packed the steps underneath the Arch for the 90-minute show. The members of Sonic Youth seemed as tickled to be there as the crowd did — vocalist/guitarist Thurston Moore cheekily asked if there was room in the Arch to move in — and they delivered a blistering noise-punk set of tunes that spanned the band's entire career. Besides playing most of its 2009 album, The Eternal, the Youth threw in plenty of '80s chestnuts — including the creepy, distortion-laced "Shadow of a Doubt" and the squalling, car-with-no-brakes "Death Valley '69."

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