Friday, July 1, 2011
Lydia Lunch's Big Sexy Noise, Purcell Room, 18 June 2011
Well, I'm back home in time for the New Zealand rain and wind after leaving a 30 degrees celcius day in the UK. Other than doing a little travelling, catching up with family, attending a wedding, watching stand-up comedy, visiting art galleries and museums, I managed to see a few bands in London and with this being a music blog, I'll write about those here. Lydia Lunch's Big Sexy Noise was playing in the Purcell Room while Wire and The Sonics were playing next door for twice the price. All bands were there as part of Ray Davies' Meltdown Festival.
Support band Cindytalk started exactly on time and walk along the ambient road with film images playing above them. They reminded me of Portishead, as I found the performance of the 5 piece compelling and hard to look away but the music isn't something I'd choose to listen to at home. I'm sure Bjork, who I feel similarly about, was included in the images a number of times.
I'd never seen Lydia Lunch before but had heard some of music from the 80's and a little of her spoken word material. Big Sexy Noise arrive to applause and sound great although after a couple of songs there is a request for the guitar to be turned up. Lydia is as confrontational as expected and a great stage performer. Guitarist James Johnston(Gallon Drunk) is equally captivating and feeds off the music and is able to both blank Lydia out and lead her on. Lunch tells someone with a digital camera to "put that thing back in their pants" and continues on through the song "Your Love Don't Pay The Rent". The saxophone of Terry Edwards adds a mellow bluesy swagger dynamic to the and is reminiscent of the band, Morphine with more than a hint of The Birthday Party.
"Doughboy" is dedicated to Courtney Love, Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty, (although Lydia pronounce Pete's surname as Docherty) for being rockers who can't hold their drug use. The dirgy Harry Crews novel based "The Gospel Singer" is a highlight. Lydia asks for more volume on the band's final song "Something Witchy in The Air" which is a straight-up rocker Ian White drum driven rocker.
After a short break the band return to peform Lou Reed's "Kill Your Sons" The song suits both the band and Lydia's psychotic confrontational tendencies like a straitjacketed glove.
The Purcell room struck me as a weird venue as all audience members are seated and most just happily sat and watched. I joined in with the weirdness by buying a tub of ice cream after Cindytalk's set. The average age of the audience would have been around the 40 mark which may account for so many happily seated. Also the whole show was over by 10.30 which was nice after going to so many back home that don't even start until near the midnight mark.