Smart Bar Chicago 1985

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Smart Bar Chicago 1985
A red hue photograph of a rock band on stage. Bold black text above reads "Sonic Youth Smart Bar Chicago 1985."
Live album by Sonic Youth
Released November 13, 2012
Recorded August 11, 1985
Studio Smart Bar, Chicago, United States
Length 67:02
Label Goofin'
Sonic Youth live album chronology
Live at the Continental Club
Smart Bar Chicago 1985

Smart Bar Chicago 1985 is a live album by the American alternative rock band Sonic Youth, released on November 13, 2012 on Goofin' Records. It features a live 4-track recording of the band's performance at the Smart Bar in Chicago, Illinois on August 11, 1985, during the tour in support of Sonic Youth's second studio album, Bad Moon Rising (1985).


Smart Bar Chicago 1985 was released on November 13, 2012 on Goofin' Records. It was announced for released on September 10 on the band's official web site[1] and "Intro"/"Brave Men Run" was made available for stream on YouTube on October 15.[2][3] The album was made available on CD, double LP and as a digital download from online retailers. Upon its release, it charted in Belgium, peaking at 182 on Wallonia's Ultratop chart.[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Drowned in Sound 7/10[6]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[7]

Upon its release, Smart Bar Chicago 1985 received positive acclaim from critics. Allmusic reviewer Fred Thomas awarded it 4.5 stars out of 5 and wrote, "The band sounds locked into a collective meditation for much of the set, stringing together the long and discordant segments of songs into a mostly uninterrupted hour and change of sound." Thomas later added, "Without besting the album versions, almost every song here offers a more vivid, more extreme counterpoint to its better-known studio side" and summarized the album as "unpolished, tormented, hungry, and constantly threatening to crumble into godless noise."[5] Writing for Drowned in Sound, Noel Gardner said, "On 'Brave Men Run (In My Family)', [Steve] Shelley elevates it with a near-classic rock fluidity to his playing [...] 'I Love Her All The Time' feels like a Moore vehicle, much like on record, but has great gobs of anti-rock no wave atmos; 'Ghost Bitch' is considerably more abrasive here, [Kim] Gordon sounding less like a coffee house poet than an untamed punk vocalist—Penelope Houston, say." Gardner rated the album 7 out of 10 and summarized: "Smart Bar – Chicago 1985 is not going to change perceptions of either Sonic Youth or live albums: it's a decent recording strictly for fans." Describing the album as "a taste of glories to come", Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield awarded the album 3.5 out of 5 stars and noted "Expressway to Yr Skull" and "Secret Girl" as highlights, adding, "The peak is the early ballad 'I Love Her All the Time'—noisy, emotionally alive, jittery with excitement for the future."[7] In his review in Smart Bar Chicago 1985's liner notes, Aaron Mullan referred to the album as "brilliant" and the show itself as "a killer show." He added, "The material is also so visceral and improvisatory that it greatly benefits from the additional perspective offered by a live recording."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Sonic Youth.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Hallowe'en" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Kim Gordon 5:42
2. "Death Valley '69" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore 7:20
3. "Intro"/"Brave Men Run (In My Family)" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Gordon 4:51
4. "I Love Her All the Time" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Moore 5:20
5. "Ghost Bitch" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Gordon 5:55
6. "I'm Insane" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Moore 5:20
7. "Kat 'n' Hat" (previously unreleased)   3:36
8. "Brother James" (from Kill Yr Idols, 1983) Gordon 2:50
9. "Kill Yr Idols" (from Kill Yr Idols, 1983) Moore 2:32
10. "Secret Girl" (from EVOL, 1986) Gordon 3:13
11. "Flower" (from Bad Moon Rising, 1985) Gordon 2:36
12. "The Burning Spear" (from Sonic Youth, 1982) Moore 5:01
13. "Expressway to Yr Skull" (from EVOL, 1986) Moore 9:04
14. "Making the Nature Scene" (from Confusion is Sex, 1983) Gordon 3:42
Total length: 67:02


All personnel credits adapted from Smart Bar Chicago 1985's liner notes.[8]

Sonic Youth
Technical personnel
  • Rich Menning – recording
  • Aaron Mullan – mixing, liner notes
  • John Golden – mastering
Design personnel
  • Cody Ranaldo – artwork
  • Steve Koress – photography
  • Pat Blashil – photography
  • Gerard Cosloy – liner notes

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak position
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[4] 182


  1. ^ Pelly, Jenn (September 10, 2012). "Sonic Youth Announce New Live Album | News". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Intro/Brave Men Run (in My Family) – Sonic Youth Smart Bar Chicago 1985". YouTube. Google. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  3. ^ Flood, Laura (October 17, 2012). "First Track from Sonic Youth's Smart Bar – Chicago 1985 Released: Music: News". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Sonic Youth – Smart Bar Chicago 1985". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Fred. "Smart Bar: Chicago 1985 – Sonic Youth: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Gardner, Noel (November 8, 2012). "Sonic Youth – Smart Bar Chicago 1985 / Releases". Drowned in Sound. Silentway. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (November 13, 2012). "Smart Bar Chicago 1985 | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Smart Bar Chicago 1985 (CD). Sonic Youth. Goofin' Records. 2012. GOO-016. 

External links[edit]