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Throbbing Gristle ‘Secret’ Gig Review

As you may have heard, the Re-TG weekend at Camber Sands - which was supposed to be the highlight of my Summer - ended up being cancelled and replaced by an exclusive Throbbing Gristle studio gig last Sunday, for those of us who bought festival tickets.

I couldn’t make the show, but my internet-friend Matt did, and posted the following to the forums of a site I’m not allowed to mention (where some folk are ever so slightly geeky, hence the technical stuff at the beginning).

Ok, gear first.

Chris and Sleazy had Powerbooks, Cosey an iBook. Sleazy was also using what looked like a small red Korg, don’t know the model’s name. Chris had a Novation Remote 25 audio and that made me very happy - like a big stupid kid - because I’ve just bought one. He did have a rack of beautiful, intricate and unaffordable looking hardware to go along with it though. He also had a drum machine on the side and I didn’t recognise either that, or the software he was running. Cosey mostly played slide guitar on her lap. She played trumpet on one song and did something on her iBook on another, but didn’t sing at all, so no ‘Hot on the Heels’.

Gen played bass and violin on one song, and sang on the rest. She was wearing a plastic red mini with matching jacket, stockings and a padded basque to show off her tits. With all the scarification, tats, metal teeth and implants she looked like a highway prostitute from the seventh circle of hell. Perfect.

After a bit of banter and a false start, they opened with what I think were the minimalistic rumblings of ‘X-Ray’ off TGNOW. In fact, I think they played all of TGNOW on the day and, unusually in this sort of situation, it was the right thing to do - it’s absolutely amazing and was mindblowing live. The standouts from the back catalogue were ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Hamburger Lady’ but I don’t have all their stuff, so I’m not sure what was new. To add to the confusion, the live versions of the new stuff were completely different from the CD (which I didn’t hear till after the gig) and the live versions of the old ones were often only recognisable by the lyrics and a nuclear flash of sonic connection.

They all seemed to be loving it. Especially Sleazy. Sleazy was having a ball. It was all really fucking intense of course. Even more so than I’d hoped. Immense brain and ball crushing bassl spectral, clanging guitar slashes… and that trumpet sound, Cosey - wow! What Chris and Sleazy concocted together was true synergetic alchemy of the most precise nature, transmuting their gold from the tentative micro movements of tiny knobs and the spasm-crashing howl of accidental feedback from synths both soft and hard. Gen’s voice has become rich with the years and shows incredible range, from girlish squeals to deep eldritch grunts, mostly processed and delivered with cunning wit.

I think I shivered at least once every couple of minutes but the last tune they played pretty much made me… well I get a bit shy talking about that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure it must have been ‘How Do You Deal.’ It banged like a bastard, reaching a crescendo somewhere above anywhere I’ve been before with live electronic music, that pure rush of electronic sexual energy up the spine is what I crave most in my dreams.

And then that was it. No encore. No fucking way. Good afternoon London. An hour and forty minutes of industrial bliss.

Many thanks to Matt for letting me post his excellent notes on the gig here. No thanks at all for making me sick to the back teeth with seething jealousy!

Posted at 12pm on 19/05/04 by Jack Mottram to the music category.
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  1. yeah!!

    i was there too. it was a great experience. i though it started a bit weak, but as soon as they got themselves going good and proper it was fantastic.

    i think they played all 4 songs off tg:now as well. they also played “persuasion” “what a day” “discipline” “hamburger lady” and maybe another song or 2 that i recognized.

    lots of jamming. i had a pretty good view of chris carters gear throughout the show and he was fiddling nobs on his mixer, looking at his laptop and using external midi controllers on it.

    i never thought i would see 3 laptops on stage with tg!! did not take away at all from there live presence. gen played his bass slightly sloppily, but vox were dead on.

    great time. once in a lifetime

    Posted by sean at 11am on 23.05.04

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