Kim Gordon: Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin

Kim Gordon
Astra Culture House, Berlin
June 7, 2022

LTW had the privilege of attending an episode of Kim Gordon’s postponed No Home tour from 2020. It was one of only two shows taking place in Germany so we were at the right time in the right place to catch the Godmother of 80s Noise Rock. Svenja Block visually captured the gig and Beccy Caulfield verbally collected the night’s run for you.

This particular Kim Gordon was just another show that people have been looking forward to for over two years now. So it was no surprise that the second the lights went out and the band appeared on stage followed by Kim Gordon, the grande dame of noise rock, everyone seemed to lose it completely. The days of cool contemplation in which we used to host groups seem long gone in the post-pandemic era.

The sick band supporting her that night consisted of Sarah Register on guitar (prolific mastering engineer and musician), Emily Rests on bass and Sterling Laws on drums (War On Drugs, Natasha Bedingfield).

The background visuals kicked off with scanned images of a shape that looked like a menstrual cup moving on a card-like grid before the card camera morphed into filmed images of landscapes filmed on camera. interior of a car driving throughout the day. During filming, we were confronted with landscapes of cities, views from highways and rural areas. The first song on the menu was Sketch Artist, which was not only the first single released from the No Home Record in October 2019, but also came with the most captivating music video. It is striking that cars and driving play a recurring role in Gordon’s work. The musicians continue their set with Airbnb. Both of these songs are louder songs and the guitar arrangements in Airbnb include that sonic pattern so inherent in Sonic Youth guitars. This particular track could allude to an Airbnb in Echo Park, LA Gordon escaped while working on new songs several years ago.

Kim Gordon at Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin 06/07/22

For the first five songs, Kim Gordon only focused on singing and performing, so her amazing band took care of the rest. Kim seized the opportunity to truly own the stage by walking along the edge of the stage and using an instrument box as a pedestal to dance on. She fiddled with the microphone and threw the cable around her neck. At one point, she raised her arms while singing into the mic and looked up at the ceiling. It was such an epic moment so I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rock gods came down from above to take their daughter Kim with them at that exact moment because they realized they needed her . She rhythmically took a big step towards the crowd, then another big step back. Fronting without an instrument in her hands, she was able to become one with the songs through her movements.

His set was as eclectic as a trip through different countries. You never get bored taking in all those different impressions, smells and sounds that make you feel like you’re away from home. After a raucous start, the set continued with Paprika Pony, one of his most RnB tracks, led by a thick, pumping bass line, followed by Murdered Out, which has a classic industrial setup. She repeatedly shouted, “Turn me on! Turn Me On!“ in his incredibly cool and sweet voice, which at the same time has to be the most urgent voice known to mankind. You definitely turned us on Kim Gordon, not in a sexually excited way, but more like we came here turned off, you turned us on and now we’re fully awake. Don’t Play is a more upbeat, slightly rap-influenced track, which also happened to be the last track Kim performed without a guitar, before strapping on her guitar for Cookie Butter.

Kim Gordon at Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin 06/07/22

Kim Gordon made my heart leap in awe and joy when she picked up the guitar to start messing around with the tremolo to start building on those sonic walls of noise, feedback and distortion that all Kim fans are finally came looking. For the rest of the set, Kim played guitar and took care of amplifying those smooth layers of noise that she is so pro at creating.

Get Yr Life Back, the penultimate song on the official setlist, is a direct affront to the capitalist system. The track’s message clearly takes a stand against Trump’s policies in the United States. Earthquakes closed out the set, which carried symbolism pulled within, as Gordon herself said the song was partly about the existing viewer-performer relationship.

Clearly, every Kim Gordon obsessed fan couldn’t get enough of her rock goddess. Kim, you turned them on and they wanted more, so the crowd kept screaming for an encore for about five minutes before the edgy ex-bassist of Sonic Youth and his cool band schmool returned to continue their set. . The visuals had changed and showed images of cities at night as opposed to all the daytime imagery that audiences had been exposed to before. Thanks for sharing the car keys and taking us on this ride with you Kim!

The first bonus track of the night was Hungry Baby which contains the intense/daring/true line: “2020. It’s on. “The blow actually hit so hard that a large part of the crowd had probably been waiting for this night for a few years now. Kim opted to continue with Blonde Red Head, a cover of noise duo No-Wave underdog DNA, followed by Grass Jeans as the final closer set. Grass Jeans was released in December 2021, and all money earned from the single was donated to women in Texas to make abortion easier. Kim Gordon, how not to be in love with you? This incredible noise leader, women’s rights activist, ended the evening doing what she does best: making the indomitable roar and distorted soundscapes reign supreme dressed as the chief chancellor of a rock college, pointing out once again that she deserves this title like no one else.

Kim Gordon at Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin 06/07/22

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you would like to use/purchase or license any images, please contact Svenja Block at [email protected].


Read more about Kim Gordon on her website | instagram | Twitter | Facebook

All words © Beccy Caulfield. This is Beccy’s first contribution to LTW.

All photographs © Svenja Block. You can find more work from Svenja on her Link tree and in the archives of its author.

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