2004 – Dublin Electronic Arts Festival

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At Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, Ireland

23rd October 2004 – Dublin Electronic Arts Festival – City Hall, Dublin, Ireland

Set List

  1. White Rainbow
  2. The Beginning is Always the End
  3. Unhappy Rabbits
  4. Stranded With Gifts
  5. Tom’s Radio Weston
  6. Going Up (Prelude)
  7. Going Up

Background

Feeling: Final.

Final gig. Only performance of all songs, an originally planned 5-song set with the overall title “Stranded With Gifts” (within which a performed song shares the same name).

On September 13th 2004, Peter performed “The Art of Mirrors (Homage to Derek Jarman)” live at L’Étrange Festival in the Forum des Halles, Paris, France, a score to the films of Derek Jarman. Little information is available, but much of his set seems to be comprised of proto-Threshold HouseBoys Choir material, along with some Coil samples and songs. Note the incorporation of the bird noises later used on “Stranded With Gifts” and “Going Up” at Dublin and the performances of “Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)” and a very early version of the soon-to-be-classic “Going Up”!

In the Coil mailing list archives, John Balance said this of the Dublin show on October 16th: “In Dublin we are doing a 5-sectioned piece called STRANDED WITH GIFTS(MOTH). All new material.” The material was set to be recorded and released as The Telesmatic Tree in the King Scale, which sadly never came to be.

Gone are the costumes, the props, and the general theatrics Coil had been known for for over 4 years. John wore a dress shirt and tie, Peter and Thighpaulsandra wore different sweaters, and Cliff wore ordinary clothes. The only visual staple is the fog machine.

John’s vocals during “Going Up” were later used on the studio version of the song found on The Ape of Naples.

After the final song performance, John concludes, “Thank you very, very much. We hope to see you again soon. Thank you very much for coming and enjoy your evening. Night night.”

Additional Coil Mailing List Posts by John Balance, Before and After the Show

At the behest of Alex Thompson, who kindly archived these for us and which we thank him for, we include relevant Coil Mailing List posts made by John and Peter here for completion’s sake.

Jhonn Balance john at loci.demon.co.uk
Fri Oct 8 10:59:53 EDT 2004

BTW

We don’t have any of these here that are even complete copies. so NO
there will be no deluxe emanations from us.
i spent a wonderful day yesterday in Somerton,somerset, the more
ancient Capitol of England, singing with no effects with Cliff
Stapleton playing sublime intense Hurdy Gurdy improvisations while Ian
sat drawing potatoes .Bliss in a new bucket. this was preparation for
the Dublin City hall performance/ piece. if anyone is wondering what
Cliffs project “The Dualists” album of Hurdy gurdy musick sounds
like.Its excellent but not like his work so far with Coil. We will be
making sound sample available as soon as time allows.Please give it a
go! We are planning at least 2 album length projects with Cliff fully
integrated and featured in stunning fulsome.

Happy Day today. I’m off to buy a fish.

Balance X

Jhonn Balance john at loci.demon.co.uk
Wed Oct 20 15:42:32 EDT 2004

Balance here.

From the suiciseaside mists of Avalon.
Arbos is my favourite Pärt quite often. Peter likes Summa. We like
nearly all of it. But find the broader deeper mid period works to be
the most rewarding.

Balancex

Marc Almond and his manager is still seriously ill. Marc has not yet
regained conciousness.We are dedicating the Dublin show to him and will
be utilising Energies and PRAYER to send a RAVEN with a healingspell to
his bedside.to pull him out of this GRIMM darkness and awful MESS of
accident.

Separate email sent on October 27, 2004:

We will make Dublin a downloadable dump IF and WHEN we get a good copy
of the concert. it was meant to be recorded by Northern Irish TV. im
going to make up a list of titles when `Ive listened through it all.
Apart from a sort of version of A White Rainbow it was ALL made uo on
the spot. all we had was a rough 5 section time devisions.

best when blessed

Jhonnnnn X

Jhonn Balance john at loci.demon.co.uk
Thu Oct 28 11:06:15 EDT 2004

Hi All

This is Sleazy – I’m hoping the recording of the Dublin show that the
video people got will be good but if anybody else has a live recoding:

a) we don’t mind, and
b) can we get a copy?

If so please write to me at

zoskia at mac.com

Whichever sounds best we will put on Downlaod site asa wecan.
We plan to put the Ocean Show up as well which was the culmination of
that particular series.

best2all
sleazy

Concert Lyric Notes

By far, this is the saddest Coil gig thematically and lyrically and, because of its finality, I will analyze or outline the lyrics.

The Beginning is Always the End” is often included in the same track as “White Rainbow.” I give them separate track names here because the backing track to the song is called “The Beginning is Always the End” on the Coil Reconstruction Kit and it doesn’t start until about three minutes before the end of the song. It’s rather telling lyrics, which piggyback off of “White Rainbow” slightly, go as follows:

Every day I see you
Every day I see you
Every day I see you, I’m scared

And by the stroke of luck, dissolved in a fit
That’s the way it is, that’s the way it is, the way it is
I had a stroke of luck, dissolved in a fit
That is the way it is, the way it is, the way it is

It’s a psychosis

The way it is [repeated]

Who John is scared of is unknown – could be Peter, could be something he only sees in visions – but it’s notable that he acknowledges his crazy behavior and basically labels it inevitable and part of his life. Very sad, indeed. The track seques right into “Unhappy Rabbits”, which goes:

Unhappy rabbits [x15]

Yowwwwww (recut and edited throughout the song)
Unhappy rabbits
Yowwwwww
Yowwwwww

Unhappy rabbits [x20]
Unhappy bunnies [x3]
Unhappy rabbits [x3]
Unhappy bunnies [x6]

Unhappy rabbits, unhappy bunnies
Unhappy rabbits, unhappy bunnies
Unhappy rabbits, oh, unhappy bunnies
Unhappy rabbits, unhappy bunnies
Unhappy rabbits, oh, unhappy rabbits

I’m clean and I’m shining
And I’m happy and I’m dead
I’ve broken the code of youth in my head
I’m clean, I’m shining
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head
I’m clean and I’m shiny
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the oath of youth in my head
I’m clean and I’m shiny
I’m happy and I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head
I’m clean and I’m shiny
I’m happy and I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head

I’m happy I’m shining
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head
I’m happy I’m shining
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head
I’m clean and I’m shining
I’m happy and I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head
I’m happy, I’m shining
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the code of youth in my head
I’m clean and I’m shining
I’m happy and I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I’m happy, I’m shiny
I’m happy I’m dead
I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head

Rabbits, traditionally, are symbols of fertility and life – that’s where the expression “fornicate like rabbits” comes from, after all. I interpret this song to mean that the rabbits are “unhappy” with constantly creating new life. They only become “happy” when they break the cult/oath/code of youth and finally die, ending the endless cycle of renewal.

“Unhappy Rabbits” segues into “Stranded With Gifts”, the title track of the performance. The song goes:

Stranded with gifts, I’m stranded with gifts
I’m stranded with gifts, I’m stranded with gifts
For the others who landed, I am stranded with gifts
Stranded with gifts

Necessary tentacles, necessary tentacles, necessary tentacles
We vultures
We watchers

The Queen watches as we all want the universe to save our innocent life
The Queen watches as we all want the universe to save our innocent life
The Queen watches as we all want the universe to save our innocent life
The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
 
[Speaking in tongues section]

The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
The Queen watches a scale model of the universe descend over Slough
Slough
The… Queen
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah

During “Tom’s Radio Weston,” a presumably drunk random fan climbs onstage and starts dancing. He catches John’s attention before security (maybe?) takes him offstage. People often mislabel the song as “I Want the Bells to Whistle,” after John’s first lyric, while they name the next song “Tom’s Radio Weston.” Again, on the Coil Reconstruction Kit, the backing video track bears the name “Tom’s Radio Weston”, so that must be the title. The song goes:

I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to whistle
I want everything
I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to sing
I want the bells to whistle, I want everything
I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to sing
I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to ring
I want the bells to whistle, I want everything
I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to ring
I want the bells to whistle, I want everything
I want the bells to whistle, I want the bells to ring
I want the bells to whistle, I want everything
I want everything
I want everything

Yowwwwww

The golden age of bloodsports
I’m strip-searched at the airport
I was strip-searched at the airport
A Godly fabrication
A tissue of lies
Strip-searched at the airport
Broke, stripped to my thighs
It’s the golden age of bloodsports
It is the golden age of bloodsports
Strip-searched at the airport
I was strip-searched at the airport
The golden age of bloodsports
The broken age of bloodsports

Always someone’s someone doing something
Someone somewhere
There is always someone somewhere,
Doing something with someone somewhere
Always someone somewhere…
It’s the golden age of bloodsports

For the hunted, for the hunted
For the hunted, for the hunted
For the hunted, for the hunted
For the hunted, for the hunted
For the hunted, for the hunted
For the hunted
Here they come
It’s the golden age of bloodsports

Perhaps inspired by another real-life occasion that brought on negative thoughts for John.

The track before “Going Up” has no real name, so I’m just calling it a prelude. Before the prelude, John says, “This is a little something. This is a little something.” The song goes:

[Summoning chants]

The amethyst in the woods…
The amethyst in the woods…
Pick the amethyst in the woods?
The amethyst in the woods…
It’s the amethyst in the woods…
The amethyst in the woods?
It’s the amethyst in the woods…

It’s really hard to tell what he’s saying, but the bulk of the song is comprised of John’s strangely hypnotic chanting. Perhaps inspired by more hallucinations brought on by amethyst deceivers.
The song segues right into “Going Up”, arguably the showstopper of the gig and of all Coil live performances. The song goes:

John:

Are you ready to go now? [x6]
Are you ready to go? [x2]
Are you ready?
Are you ready to go now? [x2]
Are you ready?
Are you ready to go now? [x4]
Are you ready?
Are you ready to go now? [x6]
Are you ready?

François Testory:

Ground Floor:
Perfumery
Stationery and leather goods
Wigs and haberdashery, Kitchenware and foods
Going up
Going up

First Floor:
Telephones
Gents’ ready-made suits
Shirts, socks, ties, hats
Underwear and shoes
Going up
Going up

Second Floor:
Carpets
Travel goods and beddings
Materials and soft furnishing
Restaurant and teas
Whooooaaaaah
Going up
Going up
Going up
Going up
Going up
Ooh…

John:

It just is [repeated]

Line-up

John Balance.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.
Thighpaulsandra.
Cliff Stapleton – hurdy-gurdy.
François Testory* – countertenor on “Going Up”.

*This was the only time that François Testory played with Coil live.

Promotional Material

Backstage or Related Material

Ticket Stubs

Venue

Dublin City Hall
Dame Street
Dublin 2
D02

Venue 360 Degree Tour [opens external link]

Gallery

John Balance + Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson – Final Interview, on Dublin Rattlebag (2004-10-22)

City Hall Venue History

Gig Review(s)

A Hotpress piece on the Dublin gig, sourced from the original Coil mailing list archives (and written on October 26th 2004), reads as follows:

“The decision by the DEAF organisers to take electronic music out of the clubs and into more unorthodox venues is increasingly looking like a masterstroke. It’s difficult to conceive of a more suitable environment for Decal’s moody electronica or Coil’s foreboding ambient compositions than the baroque surroundings of City Hall; as the evening progresses, the novel mixture of historical artefacts (paintings, sculptures etc) and cutting-edge sonic experimentation becomes more and more captivating.

Alan O’Boyle gets proceedings underway with a masterful forty minutes of atmospheric, down-tempo grooves, which once again demonstrates that the Decal spin on the ambient style is as inventive and inspired as any of the genre’s more exalted international practitioners. O’Boyle’s braiding of various disparate strands is subtle and compelling; a touch of Aphex/Polygon Window analogue-bubblebath here, a smattering of Eno-esque urban melancholy there, all topped off with the producer’s own winningly idiosyncratic stylistic flourishes. His set-closing mix of Pan Sonic-style sinister bass pulse and Fennesz-like buzzing static sets the scene perfectly for Coil, never a group to shirk a challenge when it comes to musical innovation. However, even before they play a note, they make an impact. John Balance, though as soft-spoken and gentlemanly a character as one could hope to meet, nonetheless has a disconcerting stage presence; with his druidic beard, unnerving stare and consummately oddball sartorial choices (tonight modelling a dark work-shirt and archaic tie that give him the appearance of a 19th century undertaker), he makes a unique and compelling performer.

Accompanied by Julian Cope collaborator Thighpaulsandra and folk maestro Cliff Stapleton (“the Jimi Hendrix of the hurdy-gurdy,” as John describes him), Balance and Peter Chrisopherson navigate their way brilliantly through singularly imaginative ambient terrain; comparisons are very hard to come by, unless one invokes similarly reclusive and iconoclastic experimentalists like The Residents and Boards Of Canada (there is confirmed mutual admiration between BOC and Coil). Their real secret weapons, though, are Christopherson’s visuals; as anyone who has seen his awesome videos for Nine Inch Nails can attest, he has a powerful and distinctive directorial style. At times tonight, such as when one gorgeously dark, pastoral composition is accompanied by shots of autumnal branches swaying gently in the breeze, followed swiftly by a strangely ominous, 360 slo-mo pan of a forest at dusk, the interplay between image and soundtrack is absolutely breathtaking. The concluding film is a treated montage of psychedelic flames, over which the group strike up a gorgeous hypnotic rhythm, Balance chants, “This is just the way it is” over and over, and a guest vocalist chips in with some eerie, ghostly wails.

The previous eighty minutes has charted its way through territory generally referred to as “abstract”; this ventures off out into some place they haven’t got around to mapping yet. More gigs of this vintage, and DEAF is well on its way to becoming one of the highlights of the musical year. Tonight, though, belonged to Coil, who showed that 20 years of pioneering experimentation still hansn’t dulled their appetite for deconstruction. Shine on you crazy diamonds.”

Interview with François Testory

Here is a brief interview I conducted with François Testory over Facebook Messenger (edited for clarity):

Kiefer Gorena: How and when did you meet Coil? Before the Dublin live show?
François Testory: Yes, before. Can’t remember dates but not long before the making of “Going Up.” I was a very good friend of Ian Johnstone, a very talented artist, the one who made the cover for Apes of Naples. Ian was involved with John Balance.
K.G.: Yeah, they had started dating in early 2003, I believe. Just after John broke up with Peter around October 2002.
F.T.: Well, you know more than I do. I can’t remember how it all went but the recording of the the singing didn’t take long. I went to Weston-Supermare – stayed there a 2, 3 days. There might have been some preparation the day before, but the actual recording didn’t last more than a couple of hours.
K.G.: I heard John acted as a “tough producer.” Peter recalled he seemed “nonplussed” by your vocals before retreating back into his room and booze.
F.T.: Well you [definitely] know more than I do. One great pity for me is that John ended up proposing [to] me the work on a few tracks, like a mini-CD. Never happened.
K.G.: That does suck. Would’ve been great to hear more collabs with you and Coil.
F.T.: Yep. Well, I quite like the track I did [with] Dan O’Sullivan. There is a link with Coil – he is a fan and also was a friend of Ian J. “Calicite” is the track, I think.
K.G.: I have not heard that one. Will check it out! So what do you remember about Dublin? Was it a good show?
F.T.: Well, I just went in for my bit and out again, but yes, it seemed to be OK. Coil concerts did tend to send the crowd into a frenzy. There was quite a crowd.
K.G.: Oh yes, haha. I have heard some stories about the live shows – some dirty. Had you attended any previously?
F.T.: Yes, in London, the year before, maybe. [Probably 2004-07-25 Ocean]
K.G.: Nice! Last question – you attended John’s funeral, right? Did you sing “Going Up” there, too?
F.T.: Yes, I did. It was quite strange, as the casket was opened and I was just beside it singing.
K.G.: I have only seen two images of the funeral, both of them John in his casket. He looked like an angel. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions!
F.T.: My pleasure.

Attendee Recollections

Youtube user schreineinAV attended this gig and had this to say:

“Btw, I was at this show… Stands head and shoulders above anything I saw before or since! It was physically loud and very intense… Hard to believe 2 weeks after it Balance would be dead! The Dublin show was simply incredible! The choice of venue… Everything… Mind blowing!
Believe it or not.. There can’t be much missing from ‘A White Rainbow’… It started off very slow and ritualistic… the talk was, it was intended as part of a healing ritual for Marc Almond, a very close friend of Balance and Sleazy, who was in a coma at the time from a near fatal motorcycle accident! Anyway, Balance started off the show with his screams, yelps, howls and groans…

The raw material sampled and used throughout the show! It’s a pity this wasn’t properly recorded, as CSO couldn’t capture the magick! Balance’s sampled screams and howls were sent around the hall in what was like a quadraphonic PA system… They seemed to be flying in all directions… With Balance tracking them all around the hall as if he was watching ghosts! The bass was very heavy and very loud… I remember feeling the soles of my feet vibrating! It was very disorientating… The dome under which they played was the most trippiest thing ever, especially with the ‘amethyst’ and magenta spotlights flashing over the mosaic… You can see Balance staring at it (there was talk in the hall he had taken some psilocybin mushrooms, don’t know if that’s true! He was drinking a pint of lager during sound check… We collected our tickets at the venue… Big regret not saying hello to the boys)!

Anyway… The most surreal moment of the night, aside from the spaced-out stage invader during the ‘Golden Age of Blood Sports’ was when François Testory came out painted silver and sparkling and started singing during ‘Going Up’… Only a couple of people recognised it on the night as the thene tube of ‘are you being served?’… Most thought it was ‘Rosa Decudia’ from the ‘Autumn Equinox‘ EP… On the CSO video of this show, about 6mins into ‘A White Rainbow’, you can see me centre screen, staring at the ceiling… The camera slowly tracks in…”

Regarding the audience recording, he said, “The original poster, who I unfortunately can’t remember, promised to post track 1 (‘A White Rainbow’) and track 5 (Are You Ready To Go/ Going Up)… But they never materialised!
John Kealy and Brian Conliffe were at the show too… Maybe they have the full recording from this person… I do have the original files of what you posted, but I think someone has done a bit of tidying up…. What you posted sounds 100 times better than what I have… Sounds like it’s been compressed and EQ’d… And given a little sympathetic stereo treatment! Mine sounds like it was recorded on a cassette Walkman, lol! When this surfaced, people near list their minds… As they thought the gig was lost forever!”

Regarding the three-camera CSO video edit, he said, “As far as I remember, the art station owned all 3 static cameras on tripods… There was an unidentified man with a handheld video camera in the hall too… Not sure whatever became of that… Not to mention quite a few mobile phones recording… Potentially there could still be loads out there for this show…
Still, folk like myself are thankful this surfaced at all! Thankfully, someone acquired the videos from the local art station in Dublin and sent them to Sleazy… See, Coil encouraged us fans to bootleg their shows, as long as we gave them copies of what was recorded! Saying that, it’s a mystery why they didn’t take a soundboard recording of Dublin, given it was billed as an improvised set for hurdy gurdy and “prepared voice”…”

Known Recordings

Tapes owners/taper:

EDIT – (One of the AMT) Royce Harper.
AMT CLIP – John Kealy.

Concert Recording Downloads