This is the only show I'm going to at this years Meltdown Festival curated by Ray Davies and it is probably the most unlikely of choices for Ray to have made. Or so I thought until I ran into my old friend Theo who I have been having a go at for many years as our musical tastes collide and he told me that this show was one of Ray's Daughters picks! Either way these are two very unlikely acts to see playing at The Purcell Rooms in The Southbank Centre and long may my taxes help to put on shows like this.
First on are the legendary CINDYTALK who I first got into back in 1985 when their Playtime was one of the songs on the Abstract Fanzine issue 5's free vinyl LP. They were a bit of a goth industrial enigma and have remained so ever since. The only other London show that I know of was the one I saw at the Luminaire a couple of years ago that was to promote the Silvershoalsoflight 10" one sided single (www.bluesanct.com).
Tonight they are a 5 piece to bring us a trip into the dark atonal atmospherics and claustrophobia that comes as the drummer hits his cymbals with the padlock chains he is swinging before bowing a breezeblock type thing. Meanwhile,the guitarist is attacking his guitar with a baton, the noises are grinding and Cindy is at odds with the cacophony in a maxi dress howling the dark recesses of her mind. Towards us, the light is anything but silver shoals, more like splinters of dark in the gloom wrapping us all in this brew of noise as they crashed and launched explosions of noise from the synths or the guitars. It created a fantastic journey into whatever world Cindy and Gordon Sharpe are creating for us with this sonic stew that is enough to get a few of the less hardy souls heading for the bar to get away from it.
After the break the Purcell refilled to see BIG SEXY NOISE (www.lydia-lunch.org) that is the current super hot apocalyptic project of Lydia Lunch, Terry Edwards, James Johnston and Ian White who have been making some of the most gloriously sleazy music together for the last 3 years in between their other bands and projects. I never tire of seeing this lot live in any of the bands I've seen them all in for the last 25 plus years.
Lydia seems to be revelling in this nice hall and apart from the first two songs when the guitars weren't up loud enough they sounded fantastic throughout with Terry Edwards punishing his keybords as well as his sax. Lydia spat abuse as she always will do and Dark Eyes is dedicated to the poor fools in the army. She later says how she wants to look after all the amputees back from the wars.
We obvously hear about Slydell and what he's been up to, while they have put a few new songs into the set. One of the highlights is still the old Harry Crews number Gospel Singer from back when Lydia was hanging out with loads of Female Wrestlers. She still has Another Man Coming while the bed is still Warm: a song that is itching to be covered by some female rap singer as she puts down her man who is out chasing other women while Lydia is alone at home.
Doughboy gets its normal shout out to Amy Winehouse, Courtney Love and Pete Doherty who she seems to be happy is finally behind bars for 6 months as there is nothing worse than as rock star who can't do their drugs properly.
James Johnston had his guitar squalling away at us on That Smell ("ooh do you smell that smell"). It's a dark and visceral depiction of the song that Lydia gives us as she sings and stomps around the stage and then this band's anthem Your Love Don't Pay My Rent sounded great as Lydia spewed the bile at the poor fool who had the temerity to do all her drugs and smash her TV by tripping over his boots.
They left the stage to huge applause and came back for the inevitable encore of Kill Your Sons: a song they have made their own and proceed to stomp all over Lou Reed's version as Lydia and the band brought out the dark insanity of sending your kids to get electric shock treatmenat and shooting them up with Thorazine. You can easily imagine Lydia choking like a son of a gun. Really a perfect song for them to finish with.