Throbbing Gristle by Paul Heartfield
When I discovered industrial music as a tender, spooky-goth teen, my introduction to the genre (and favorite ever since) was, appropriately, Throbbing Gristle. They pioneered industrial music, using samples and special effects mixed with distorted guitars and vocals to create a unique sound, and used disturbing imagery in their work, much to the consternation of proper British society in the ’70s. (In fact, even their name is offensive to some, as it is Hull slang for an erection.) Their last performance in the U.S. was in San Francisco in 1981, but they did reunite a few years ago to record new material, and have played a few shows in Europe since then. To the delight of U.S. TG fans, they embarked on a U.S. tour this April, starting and ending here in NYC, with stops at Coachella, San Francisco, L.A., and Chicago.
On April 28, at the last show in their sold-out tour of the U.S., TG really went all-out, with a longer set than the first show at the Masonic Temple on April 16 and a really phenomenal performance. I, along with the rest of the audience, was transfixed by Genesis P-Orridge‘s vocals and performance and the intensity of the music, so much so that I neglected to write down the set list (naughty blogger!). I was especially thrilled with the performances of “Hamburger Lady” and “Persuasion”, as the acoustics of the venue perfectly reverberated GPO’s eerily haunting voice and the distorted sounds of Cosey Fanni Tutti’s headless guitar, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s tapes and effects, and Chris Carter’s synth. They also debuted the new Gristleizers, re-created by Charles Howes with the guidance of Chris Carter of TG after the recent demise of the last original one. Each member of TG tested out their new Gristleizer during a sort of experimental jam session (which is the closest term I can possibly think of to describe the wonderful cacophony that ensued) during the set.
Throbbing Gristle will be touring in Europe in June, and with airfare so low, you may want to head over there and see them. I think it’s worth it.
More photos (taken by Atom) after the jump.