Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Birth Canal Blues over London



Baby Dee, Marc Almond, Anthony(minus the Johnsons), Sebastian Horsley and Current 93 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London - Monday 21st April

Baby Dee’s solo set was really marvellous, her voice full of bawdy passion and operatic sweeps, moving from harp to piano with ease… boy she could really bang those ivories. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard her material until tonight, but I shall make amends for that soon enough…





A 60’s – 70’s love song(?), skewered by a sinister drone underlay, started Current 93’s show. It grew in intensity as the band graced the stage, the painted tree backdrop slowly transfiguring it’s colours… as the band launched into ‘The last persecution’… The music, a swollen ocean, round Tibet’s incensed delivery, Maja Elliott playing with the piano insides, everything propelling the whole….What a start!



This was followed by dramatic re-works of the 'Black Ships' material – words scattered through repetitive tunings, crashing piano, fleshy musicality… The studio album was beginning to sound stark by comparison. Tibet dancing the stage, skipping to Armageddon…



Somewhere in the proceedings, Anthony, minus the rest of the band did a blinding rendition of Soft Black Stars on the piano, his iridescent phrasing melting luxuriously.



Back with Current 93 - The new material started all tender narration, mountains, star filled faces - all to light rolling piano cycles. Suddenly, it went all vicious… hammered instrumentation, over which Tibet, part gurgling, part screaming MURDERRRRR, OHHH, MUR-DEEEEEER ‘MURRRDDDDDERRRRR YOU!’ his voice a ferocious attack through a blissful overloaded music, all feedback hell, the talons of which crawled, scraped at your ear, Tibet continuing to gnaw over the words as Mr Liles transecting them with bursts of demonic electricity, Baby Dee smashed into the piano keys with concrete fists, the three (or was it four) guitarists all gnarly strings and driven circles… Joolie Wood literally sawing into her violin ………….. This was fucking superb, a deeply psychotic excursion that luckily seemed to go on for ever, zealously abandoned….



After a few more songs, Tibet was looking the worse for wear, coming across all wobbly, staggering about the stage slightly pissed…

About half-way through, the show was given up to Marc Almond with guitar backing from Michael Cashmore. First up his take on the hymn ‘Idumaea’, then two stunning Count Stenbock poems, his swan like arms flowing on round the words in operatic flourishes .. What a showman. 'Gabriel' was just superb, almost like a forgotten Soft Cell classic especially on the repeated chorus. Pity the EP wasn’t for sale on the night…



Well, after Marc, everything gets a bit hazy in the recollection, I really should have written this down, but I think Current 93 returned for a few more songs, Tibet, having downed a fair quantity of wine, was equally hazy as he stumbled round the music, intersecting it with vocals abstracts. The intensity didn’t let up at all… even when at one point Tibet collapsed to the floor, head in hands, the music still rose around him thunderously …but when they all left the stage, I really thought it was all over…

The audience went crazy for more…

Appeasing the crowd, a lone singer returned to the stage… I’ve no idea who he was but he possessed some really crazy vocal dynamics that threw up lots of laughs and what the fucks? along the way…. Then Tibet, along with his long time school friend Sebastian Horsley who was resplendently dressed all comic Dickensian started up some vocal action. Their duet seemed partly improvised, a spoken / sung duality where everything seemed to be spiralling gloriously out of control to the repeated lines - a dandy in the underworld, Tibet relishing in the pronouncing of his words, giving the words Sebaaaasstiann Whoreeeesleyy a sick distended vibe, his friend sometimes echoing those spoken, at other times throwing up new decadent embellishments, both parties circling around each other as the rest of the band slowly returned to the stage...

Tibet seemed really wasted at this point, wandering the stage, intoxicated. But it wasn’t over yet…. As they launched into the unmistakable classic ‘oh, coal black smith’… to which Tibet terrorised the front row with his grotesque animal impressions, literally shrieked the songs lyrics… Joolie Wood’s recorder, shooting out the song’s nursery codex… a tune that was bouncing in our heads all the way across the Thames and back down the M4...

A remarkable night.



5 comments:

Robert said...

sounds like twas a jammy for the ages :)

Cloudboy said...

yeah the age spectrum was really wide...something for everyone surprised to see the usual black parade thin on the ground... seemed to be a lot of Almond fans mulling around, me included...

Cloudboy said...

...guessing the hip hop lovers would have felt a bit shafted though

Grubbanax said...

Anyone youtubed up the singer who "possessed some really crazy vocal dynamics that threw up lots of laughs and what the fucks?"??

I want to see that now. Why wasn't that reviewer more alert?

damn.

Wish I was there. When are they coming to Australia??

Cloudboy said...

lol - give this a try...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1Fo3ChSPi0