It’s not like guitars can only be played by the young, but for some reason it’s not always fun seeing bands that had their heyday decades ago. The Raincoats seem different, though, still active and organic. Going to see them at MOMA on a cold, witchy Saturday night in November felt great, too, maybe even a bit mythic. A Saturday hike up to 53rd Street is not a yellow brick road, but it is an unusual journey for kids who don’t head uptown much on weekend nights. The museum was packed, the space on the first floor by the sculpture garden dedicated to the show and lit up with a really soft glow, almost like candelight. Kathleen Hanna was DJing. People were drinking free beer and wine, and Hanna played Bratmobile’s “Kiss and Ride“! Yes! The museum allowed guests to wander up to the second floor galleries to see the exhibition that MOMA was celebrating, a collection of work by female photographers, a really nice mix of old and new artists. You could amble, too, the daytime rush was over and the pace of the crowd was relaxed.
The Raincoats stepped out at 10:00, laughing nervously a bit but mostly staying quiet and seeming a bit surprised and humbled by the swarm of people that applauded them like they were old friends. But they played really well, not the really well that comes from lots of practice, but a better really well, the kind that seems plucky and weird and scattered. After all these years and accolades they were as nervous as teenagers, as a band just starting out, and that made them urgent. Their albums were always kind of murky to begin with anyway, instead of separate songs just a long playing freak out session, rhythms repeated throughout with bursts of chorus and verse every now and then, so a spontaneous live performances was right. Kizmit. Check out footage above of them playing the first song Ari Up of The Slits ever wrote with very special guest Ms. Hanna, a happy tribute, and an opportunity for inter-generational ladies to keep fairy tales alive for young and old ears alike.