By some way the worst concert I’ve attended in a long while, this evening confirmed that whatever Genesis P-Orridge’s gifts may include, music isn’t one of them. As a performance artist, ideas man and prankster, he’s second to none; but stick him on a stage and ask him to come up with an evening of interesting sounds, and he will inevitably struggle. Fair enough, he’s never claimed to be a musician, but in the past at least he had the nous to surround himself with people who were able to give musical shape to his crazed visions and insights. In TG it was primarily Chris Carter and Peter Christopherson who came up with the music, while on the early Psychic TV sides Christopherson was joined by Alex Fergusson and others. Psychic TV have been through many incarnations since then, of course; but none of them have come close to recapturing the stark, uneasy beauty of those first two PTV records, and it certainly wasn’t recaptured on Monday night. Someone described the group as sounding like the worst parts of the Velvet Underground combined with the worst parts of Spacemen 3, which neatly summed it up for me.
What the paying audience was presented with was a group that basically consisted of a plodding, fuzzed-out guitarist, a flailing and approximate bassist, a drummer of stunning ineptitude and P-Orridge’s disagreeable caterwauling over the top. The lyrics, insofar as they could be discerned, were trite and drenched in bathos. There was nothing at all to hold the attention, and this, combined with the steadily rising temperature inside the Rhiz, made a sojourn outside in the fresh air outside not only desirable but practically essential.
David Murobi paid much greater attention than I did, and his fine photos of the evening can be seen here.
There was no drummer – he was ill and in hospital. The few beats that were presented were improvised by someone who had never played drums before – as a skeleton to the sounds that I found extremely pleasant. Sorry to have to disagree on this one ;-)