words & photos by Jacob Blickenstaff
Judging from the comments generated by their Thursday night Brooklyn show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Throbbing Gristle succeeded in leaving fans, gawkers and devotees with a sense of being f'd with, which is quite in-line with their history and reputation of subversive, antagonistic, repulsive, turn-the-concept-inside-out performance art. Friday night's show at Le Poisson Rouge had an air of menace, but really turned out to be a straight ahead show, "a single set of material from throughout their history'".
Once again, the announced show time was early, 7PM with doors a half hour earlier.
The security was spooked into a state of tension, when I went in to the main room I was both welcomed and warned "enjoy ... but behave yourself." The crowd was thin at 6:45, but by 7:30 it had filled in and we were all facing the stage, waiting for the show, wondering when it would start (but maybe this was the 'show'). Several of the people around me in the crowd had been to the Brooklyn show the night before and were more than happy to take it all in again.
TG came on about 8. A large security guard stood at the right side of the stage and the band's manager was perched on the left. Really there was no incident besides the music, though my friend Ryan reported being deliberately kneed in the head by a weirdo fan.
The set was nearly identical to the second set from the first night. Genesis P-Orridge recited lyrics with a magnetic/repulsive presence, darkly removed, but engaging- sometimes contributing to the noise with an electric violin and processed bass. Chris Carter provided most of the sonic structure of the music emitting the minimal beats from his laptop and layering additional sounds generated and manipulated by custom made electronic devices.
Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson sat opposite Carter in a cow hide robe fiddling with synthesizers and other custom made gadgets. His casual but focused demeanor (plus the robe) made him look like someone sitting down to do the Sunday crossword puzzle. Last but not least Cosey manipulated a headless guitar with a slide and laptop, switching to pocket trumpet played with both hands on the valves.
Musically, the sound was dark and rich, all members layering their sounds carefully on top of each other. After about an hour they left the stage and did not return for an encore.
Last night (4/19) they performed at the Coachella Music Festival. Next is San Francisco. Then comes Chicago, and then Brooklyn Masonic Temple again for a 3rd and final NYC show. More pictures from Le Poisson Rouge below...
Brooklyn show pics HERE.