Sonic Youth announce live album of their final NYC show

Sonic Youth have announced the release of a live album from their final North American show that took place in New York City.

The album titled ‘Live in Brooklyn 2011’ captures Sonic Youth’s full 17-song set from their August 2011 show at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. The New York natives played in front of the Manhattan skyline after Kurt Vile and Wild Flag served as openers.

Sonic Youth’s final hometown show was released during COVID lockdown on Bandcamp but is now getting a proper release as a remixed and remastered live album.


“The stage was facing the East River from the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, waterfront, and I recall the sun going down in the west during our set,” Lee Ranaldo, the band’s guitarist, said of the concert in a statement. “It was a pretty magical, if kinda weird day. Fitting, somehow, that our ‘last show’ should be in New York City, our home and where it all began.”

“This show was a culmination of a run of really special outdoor summertime shows in New York City for us, starting in ’92 with Summerstage in Central Park when we played with Sun Ra,” shared drummer Steve Shelly in a press release.

“For the Williamsburg Waterfront show I wrote out the set list to present to the band and it was a lot of material we hadn’t played in a while, a lot of deep cuts, so I wasn’t sure if everybody would feel like doing it,” he continued. “After worrying about which songs the band might say yes or no to, I threw those concerns out the window and I just made a list of songs that I thought would be a great set.

“We practiced the week of the show at our space in Hoboken and put the set together. First we’d try and make sure we had a guitar in the song’s tuning, then we’d try to remember the arrangement and try and put it together, sometimes re-learning bar by bar. In the end I think the whole song list made it through. Even as early as ’86 and ’87 we stopped playing ‘Death Valley 69’ and ‘Brave Men Run’ with any regularity.”

Kim Gordon and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth Perform at McCarran Park Pool - August 12, 2006. Credit: y Michael Loccisano/GETTY
Kim Gordon and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth Perform at McCarran Park Pool – August 12, 2006. Credit: y Michael Loccisano/GETTY

He added: “We’d just get excited about new material coming into the set and songs would get ‘retired’ and wouldn’t get played again for years. So on this particular night in Brooklyn a lot of those retired songs and deep cuts got dusted off and played for this show. It turned out to be a pretty special event with a really special song list.”

‘Live in Brooklyn 2011’ is set for release on August 18 via Silver Current, and will be available on vinyl, CD, and cassette tape for the first time. The remixed and remastered LP will also be released digitally via Goofin’. You can pre-order the album here.

‘Live in Brooklyn 2011’ track list is: 

‘Brave Men Run (In My Family)’
‘Death Valley ’69’
‘Kotton Krown’
‘Kill Yr Idols’
‘Eric’s Trip’
‘Sacred Trickster’
‘Calming The Snake’
‘Starfield Road’
‘I Love Her All The Time’
‘Ghost Bitch’
‘Tom Violence’
‘What We Know’
‘Drunken Butterfly’
‘Sugar Kane’
‘Psychic Hearts’

In other news, Thurston Moore announced the release of his new memoir ‘Sonic Life’.

The former Sonic Youth frontman previously told NME in 2020 that he had written a book during the pandemic. He described it as a retelling of his “history of coming to New York City as a teenager and finding my footing as a musician”. The book is set for release on October 24 via Doubleday books.

Earlier this year, the band’s former bassist and frontwoman, Kim Gordon, released a new EP with her side project Body/Head titled ‘Come On’.