photos by Lori Baily
"So Teenage Jesus and the Jerks played the Knitting Factory in N.Y.C the other night.... (the legendary No Wave band that Lydia Lunch fronted way back in the late 70's) 2 shows for 1 night only and I wasn't there. I wasn't even remotely in the neighourhood, I was stuck in London, England." [The Dark Forest]
Of all the strange and short-lived periods in the history of experimental music in New York, no wave is perhaps the strangest and shortest-lived.Thurston Moore played bass.
Centered on a handful of late-1970s downtown groups like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, DNA and James Chance's Contortions, it was a cacophonous, confrontational subgenre of punk rock, Dadaist in style and nihilistic in attitude. It began around 1976, and within four years most of the original bands had broken up.
But every weird rock scene -- and every era of New York bohemia -- eventually gets its coffee-table book moment. This month Abrams Image is publishing "No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980," a visual history by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley.
On Friday the book will be (was) celebrated with an exhibition opening at KS Art, at 73 Leonard Street in TriBeCa, and, across the street at the Knitting Factory, the reunion of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, whose blunt, aggressive songs had instrumentation so minimal that on its records the percussionist was sometimes credited as playing simply "drum." Lydia Lunch, the former lead singer, is flying (flew in) from Barcelona to play the show.
More pictures, and video, from the late show at Knitting Factory on Friday (June 13, 2008), below...