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'London, Dalston, Cafe Oto, 30 November 2017'   

-  Genre: 'Industrial'

Our Rating:
Lydia Lunch is back again with Retrovirus, one of her current bands. She's on tour to promote her new album with Cypress Grove, Under the Covers, and the reissue of her album with Rowland S Howard (Siberia) among other things.

But first we had the extreme displeasure of witnessing Gabi Losoncy's attempt to be the worst support act I've seen in the last 36 years of gig going!

Yes she is right up in the top 5 worst support acts ever and the fact that one of the other acts on this list was also on a bill with Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth is not altogether shocking.

At no point did Gabi get onto the stage. Instead she plugged her phone into the sound desk and pressed play on a sound file and then stood there posing with the phone in her hand while the file went interminably on. And on.

The sound file was of a badly recorded conversation between a group of drunk and stoned friends talking stoned and drunken bollocks ad nauseam that once most of the audience realised that was the "act" just resumed their own conversations eventually drowning out the sound file.

Yes many of the conversations we had in the audience were about the level of cheek involved and the pointlessness of the so called performance. It was just annoying and pointless and beggared belief that she had two albums of this rubbish for sale afterwards.

The most amazing part of all this is that she had come all the way from Philadelphia to inflict this on us. Oh how I wish it would have been Big Stick assaulting my ears again as at least they could be easily bottled off stage halfway through the bands second song back in 1986.

Still, Cafe Oto was packed for Lydia Lunch and from the moment Retrovirus launched into The Gospel Singer from the Harry Crews album Naked In Garden Hills it was clear that it was going to be a great set of distorted noise rock of the sort that Lydia has been great at for a very long time indeed.

Lydia croaked a hello and sounded croakier than usual when talking but fine when singing as they went further back for 3x3x3 off of 13 13. It was coruscating and very intense as Lydia howled at us and Weasel Walter and Bob Bert drove the musical intensity into our brains. Then Lydia covers her own 8 Eyed Spy song most famously covered by the Dog Faced Hermanns Love Split With Blood in her inimitable and angry style it sounded just dark and dangerous as you'd hope.

Some Boys was spat at us with the bile you'd expect before Tim Dahl's bass really chewed at our ears on Fields Of Fire. That number also had some incredibly intense guitar with Weasel Walter wrenching some phenomenal feedback out of it.

Mechanical Flattery sounded like the old classic it now is and just played to devastate all who come across it. Snakepit Breakdown was a bit of a blur of Bob Bert's drums pushing against Weasel's guitar parts as Lydia just howled and snarled at us all.

Dead Me You Beside sounded a lot like it does on Urge To Kill which is to say as dark and nasty as you could want it. They then brought far more intensity to Pere Ubu's Final Solution than Dave Thomas has managed in a while. It was wonderfully uplifting considering it's a song about wanting to commit suicide.

Afraid Of Your Company is one of those songs that seems to grow in intensity as the years go by and Lydia encouraged everyone to get the current re-issue if 13 13 that it originally appeared on. It was darkly delicious and left us in no doubt as to how creepy the guy it's sung about must have been.

They closed with Something Witchy that was dedicated to James Johnston and Big Willie White of Big Sexy Noise who were in the audience. Lydia spent much of the song pointing them out, and it was a good end to another really good Retrovirus show that could have done with being a half hour longer. However, tickets are already on sale for Lydia and Weasel Walter's Brutal Measures show at The Corsica Studio's next February, so that suits those of us wanting more and soon.
  author: simonovitch

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