College Night left crowds Thurston for Moore

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

Students came to enjoy College Night: an evening of art, pizza, giveaways, raffles, DJ dance parties and a performance by Sonic Youth' Thurston Moore.,By 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, hundreds of students from all over Boston and the greater Massachusetts had wrapped themselves around the outside of the MFA.

Students came to enjoy College Night: an evening of art, pizza, giveaways, raffles, DJ dance parties and a performance by Sonic Youth' Thurston Moore.

Most students rushed towards the ticket table to reserve their spot to see Moore perform off his solo album.

"I'm a huge Sonic Youth fan," said J. Nguyen, a junior here at Emerson.

"We got here at 5:30," he said from his front-row, dead center seat in the beige-drenched Remis Auditorium where Moore performed.

Singer Christina Carter opened for Moore. Without much introduction, Carter sat on stage with her bright orange guitar in hand, wearing cowboy boots and a black button down shirt. The guitar seemed to be the only thing vibrant about her performance, for her tunes were somber, harsh, discordant and eerie.

She hammered on her guitar strings while howling and yelling her lyrics. Her mike was set to echo as well as delay, which made the performance even more unsettling.

Her segment stopped unexpectedly when she curtly checked her watch, said "That's it. Thanks," and walked offstage before the applause even ended. "[She was] extremely innovative. Like nothing I've ever heard before," said Caitlyn Wheeler, a junior international relations major at Simmons College. Wheeler said she felt the Carter deserved a lot of credit for doing something so unusual.

The rest of the audience, on the other hand, did not have such an intellectual response; when they began to applaud, they impersonated her wailing. Christina Carter's performance was an odd choice on the curator's part, and definitely not a preview for what was to come next.

Thurston Moore's show proved to draw a much more enthusiastic response from the sold-out crowd. Moore stepped on stage looking himself like a college student. His shaggy, unwashed hair seemed to get in the way as he looked to his bassist, back-up guitarist, drummer and violinist to make sure they were ready to play. Moore's solo music is melodic yet punky, mellow yet upbeat. Many of his songs sound like beautiful symphonies on speed. His voice filled the auditorium with a grunge-like quality: a good, smoky early 90's rock, not a sad and dirty 80's hairband.

He often closed his eyes as he swayed and strummed his guitar. The set took about an hour, including a pause he took to tell the audience how his New York City apartment got robbed.

He explained to his fans that this was the reason he was not in touch with them recently, because his Powerbook laptop was stolen. He said that being cut off from the world "was kind of a sweet liberation, actually."

Moore came out after his final number to play three encore songs to a screaming audience.

Daniel Sierra, a junior professional music major at Berklee College of Music seemed to know his stuff when it came to comparing Moore's sound to that of Sonic Youth's.

"[He's] a better songwriter than I thought," he said. "Moore's solo music is more structured, and not as free and open as Sonic Youth's."

Melissa Vargas, a senior art history major at Boston University felt the performance was "what you'd expect from Thurston Moore, not far from Sonic Youth, but more melodic."

But for those who weren't able to get a ticket to the concert, there was plenty more to do at the MFA. Brandon Rios, a first year law student at Boston College Law School, enjoyed his pizza and looked forward to viewing the Walk this Way exhibit, which opened to the public the same night. He was hoping to see sneakers, specifically a pair of old-school Nikes.

Many students were found observing the exhibit.

"I like the incredible variety they have throughout the museum," said Caitlin Coyle, a junior international affairs major at Northeastern University as she admired a pair of Monolo Blahnik "Campari" Mary Janes.

Two DJ dance parties were taking place as well, but did not prove very popular. The small number of students who attended them were hanging around talking, and there was not much dancing.

Screenings of seven different award winning short films were also offered after the concert.

The MFA may seem like an unlikely place to look for entertaining events. But Dan Hirch, program manager at the MFA, wants to ensure that students are aware College Night isn't the only time to enjoy music, film and art.

He said that concerts go on year-round at the MFA. They are of a very broad variety, ranging from indie, rock, electronica, jazz, classical and many others. Films that screen at the MFA touch on the topics of Africa, Human Rights, Judiasm, Gay and Lesbian and arthouse cinema.

"We encourage students to get tickets early," said Hirch. Student discounts are available and in demand.