The gangly guitarist climbed up onto a temporary stage erected in a record store parking lot a few minutes after high noon and introduced his group, Chelsea Light Moving, with punky nonchalance: “Uh, yeah, we’re a new band.”
The band was new, but he was Thurston Moore, a rock pioneer who’s been expanding the vocabulary of the electric guitar for more than three decades as a founding member of Sonic Youth.
After his opening remarks, Moore’s recently formed quartet began chopping away at “Sleeping Where I Fall” a song that inadvertently offered some pretty smart advice for anyone hoping to catch a wide swath of the hundreds-upon-hundreds of artists that have descended upon Austin, Tex., for SXSW.
Competition at this year’s annual music bacchanal — now in its 27th year — promises to be fierce, with the regular hordes of undiscovered nobodies trying to divert our eardrums away from an increasing presence of invading pop stars. Justin Timberlake, Depeche Mode, Dave Grohl and his purpleness himself, Prince, are all expected to perform here in the next 96 hours.
That dynamic wasn’t lost on Moore. As a veteran guitar hero with a shiny new band, he represents both camps.
“Except for Mr. Timberlake and Mr. Prince… most bands [here] are unsigned,” Moore said from the stage outside Waterloo Records on Wednesday afternoon. “So I guess I’ll see you in the trenches later today with our checkbooks.”