Music seen: Pixies vs. Sonic Youth at Empire

Sublime musical match-ups
By DAN CLARK  |  June 10, 2009

The Clash of the Titans has become a Portland staple over the last three years. Since shifting from the Big Easy to the Empire this year, the Tuesday tradition has lost none of its crowd-pulling potential. This year's matchups have ranged from the sublime, like Judas Priest vs. Iron Maiden and Stevie Ray Vaughan vs. Bonnie Raitt, to the ridiculous, like Ween vs. Flight of the Conchords. (Boundary-pushing mutants like Dean and Gene Ween paired with a comedy duo that write parody songs? Really?) Tonight's matchup definitely falls into the former category.

The Pixies and Sonic Youth formed in the early '80s and went on to become two of the most influential bands of the late 20th century. It's a good bet that even if you don't listen to them, the bands you listen to do, particularly if you've ever listened to Grand Hotel, Man-Witch, Cosades, The Horror, or recent Portland Music Award winners Covered In Bees and Hatchetface and the Vipers. Representatives from both of those bands were involved in the clash, pitting the deconstructionist noise of Sonic Youth against the dark aggro-pop of the Pixies. Each band was clearly having a great time, and even went the extra mile of featuring female bassist/vocalists for authenticity's sake. Much like their iconoclastic inspirations, the local Clash bucked tradition by forgoing a vote for the winning band, with host Mark Curdo and the audience agreeing that in this particular Clash of the Titans, everyone came out on top.

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
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