At La Loco, Paris, France
23rd May 2004 – La Loco, Paris, France
01. The Gimp (Sometimes) (w/ an extended intro)
02. Sex With Sun Ra (Part Two – Sigillaricia)
03. Broccoli (Version 2)
04. All the Pretty Little Horses
05. Tattooed Man (The Dark Age of Love)
06. Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
07. Wraiths and Strays
08. Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?) (Bam Bam Cover)
01. Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?) (Bam Bam Cover)
02. Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)
03. Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
04. The Gimp (Sometimes)
05. Wraiths and Strays
06. All the Pretty Little Horses
On January 19th 2004, Brainwashed announced “Coil will be performing at the Wave Gotik Treffenfestival which takes place in Leipzig, Germany on May 28th to 31st, 2004. Other bands confirmed to appear include Clan of Xymox, Covenant and Suicide Commando, with many more to be announced.” On March 3, it only mentioned rumors of the 2004-05-23 Paris show, without any concrete info.
Prior to this show, Throbbing Gristle held a reunion show called “RE~TG” at the Astoria Theatre in London on May 16, 2004. The original date, announced as early as July 18, 2003, was supposed to be May 14-16 as a part of a huge event at Pontin’s Camber Sands Holiday Resort in Camber, East Sussex, England, but was cancelled on April 26. While severely disappointed at the lack of professional handling of the situation, TG decided to play anyway at the Astoria Theatre. It was the first time in almost 23 years the band had played to the day, though in the months prior they had started collaborating in the studio together. Numerous TG and Coil affiliates attended the show, including Thighpaulsandra, Pierce Wyss, and Massimo Villani. The official video of the gig, released on TGV, prominently shows John Balance garbed in a black-and-white striped shirt and pants. According to Thighpaulsandra, he was drunk at the time.
John frequently danced and shook himself to the music, but the most notable moment came during “Almost a Kiss,” when he ran up on the stage and kissed Peter on the cheek. A few shots later reveal Peter was quite bemused by the moment. It’s very sad, but telling. Certainly from “RE~TG” on, the Coil story grew a whole lot more melancholic.
Also announced by Coil on April 26th 2004:
“We have been working hard on new musick, new material, new ideas, stage design, costumes, merchandise etc. for the last two months, and are continuing to rehearse and plan for the remaining European dates. It continues to be an exhilerating and exciting process to work on this new material, and we are looking forward to debuting our current line up and presenting fresh meat to the carniverous audience, and we remain undaunted by the fact that our first and major UK date of the tour has disintegrated before our disbelieving eyes. Never ones to let the grass grow under our feet we are taking the opportunity to enjoy the Space and Time that this circumstance has opened up for us we intend to rehearse and record an album length CDR – tentatitively titled Telesmatic Tree in the King Scale. This new work will be for sale at the European shows and from our regular store on this site. We are also well into beginning to record material for a new ‘proper’ studio album The Ape Of Naples.
The ‘remaining European dates’ mentioned above are as follows (with the possibility of more to be added):
May 23 – Paris, France at La Locomotive
May 29 – Athens, Greece at Gagarin 205
May 31 – Leipzig, Germany at Wave Gotik Treffen festival
June 3 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands at Melkweg”
On May 18th, the 2004-07-25 Ocean Club show was also added. On May 25th, two days after the Paris gig, the finalized tour schedule was released as follows, with the May 29th gig unfortunately appearing to have been cancelled:
“May 31 – Leipzig, Germany at Wave Gotik Treffen festival
June 3 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands at Melkweg
July 11 – Jesi, Italy at Il Violino e la Selce festival
July 25 – London, UK at Ocean”
“Even an Evil Fatigue” tour, “Black Antlers” phase. The last “major” tour of Coil’s existence.
Most of the typical Coil conventions for this phase were turned on their heads. First of all, this is the only live phase based entirely on one album of material – in this case, 2004’s Black Antlers, something of a glorified demo/rehearsal that Coil promised to record proper studio versions for after the tour, which sadly never came to be. One could argue that the “Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil” phase followed 2000’s album of the same name in the same way, and that the “Backwards / Remote Viewer” phase followed 2003’s The Remote Viewer album, but in the former’s case, the title track for the live phase differed enough from the material on the album that I consider it a separate song, thus it didn’t follow the album completely, and in the latter’s case, the phase drew on many different sources, not just that one album. Second, Peter would switch up the backing videos between the set of songs every time, instead of matching each video to its respective song like in most cases before. Third, Ian Johnstone played the role of costume designer for Coil, designing John’s dress and Peter and Thighpaulsandra’s curtain outfits. He effectively replaced David Cabaret in this regard, as Cabaret had designed every costume previously. In certain recordings, you can even see Ian help Peter and Thighpaulsandra on and off the stage.
Debut performances of all songs except “Wraiths and Strays,” formerly known as “Radio Weston”.
John’s vocal stems on “Sex With Sun Ra,” “Tattooed Man,” “Teenage Lightning,” and “Wraiths and Strays” from the multitrack soundboard recording would eventually be used on studio versions/remixes of the songs found on The Ape of Naples and the 2006 2nd edition remaster of Black Antlers. Because that studio remix of “Sex With Sun Ra” was subtitled “Part Two – Sigillaricia,” I am labeling the song as song as such for this particular gig listing all the others as “Part One – Saturnalia.” “Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)” became “Teenage Lightning 2005” and “Wraiths and Strays” became “The Wraiths and Strays of Paris.”
During the soundcheck to the show, John sings along with the pre-recorded Buddhist chants during “Wraiths and Strays.” This is the only time he ever does this.
A long, ominous ambient piece plays before “The Gimp (Sometimes).” It’s unclear whether this is a long intro to the song, or a different track played over the P.A.
When John comes onstage, he says, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are Coil.” The audience erupts in applause. After “The Gimp (Sometimes)” concludes, John says, “Could I have a little bit less reverb in, uh, my monitors, please? Just a little, uh, make it a little dryer, so I can hear what I’m singing.” An audience member shouts, “Something,” and John responds, “I was singing something, yes, but I wasn’t singing anything.”
Before “Sex With Sun Ra (Part Two – Sigillaricia),” which is named such instead of “Part One – Saturnalia” because John’s vocal stems and exclusive lyrics were later on the studio version, John says, “This next track was, uh, composed about a week ago, and I finished the lyrics today, which is why I have a lyric sheet, here, so please forgive that. One day, I’ll get professional enough to sing without one. And it’s called ‘Sex With Sun Ra.’ I’ve never had it, but I’ve thought about it quite a lot.” The song is about an imaginary date between John and the jazz composer Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount and legally named Le Sony’r Ra), who claimed to have been born on Saturn and enlightened by higher beings there. He wrote countless jazz albums with his orchestra, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and was well known for the mythical African costumes he and his musicians would wear during live performances (which inspired Coil’s live garb). He wasn’t known to have any sexual preference; space was all he would talk about. He died in May of 1993 from pneumonia. I don’t know if John ever met him or saw him live. During the song itself, before the hurdy-gurdy and pipes come in, John’s mic glitches and one of his lines is barely audible, while the next line cuts out slightly. After the song, John says, “Thank you. I want to evolve and change every time we play it live and then we’ll eventually record it. And sorry for people – we didn’t manage to bring enough CDs because we couldn’t afford to have them manufactured, but they will be available from our website very soon, so if you missed out, don’t worry.”
After “Broccoli,” John says, “Thank you. We’re gonna have to pick another vegetable to do a track about soon.” Someone in the audience shouts something. John responds, “What? The metal? Uh, we, we drink, we eat, we don’t, we eat, we drink metals all the time.” Then, Peter says something to someone offstage, whom we don’t see, and John says to him, “Be quiet, Peter.” Peter makes the “yadda yadda yadda” hand motion.
Before “Tattooed Man,” John sings “I am waiting for the crunch of another naked lunch” incessantly. The Naked Lunch was a seminal work by William S. Burroughs, whom the Coil boys were a huge fan of. A projected album under various names, including Wounded Galaxies Tap at the Window and The Star-Shaped Individual in Society, which would focus on spoken word poetry and would feature a contribution from Burroughs, was never released. After the song, John says, “Thank you very much. That’s another track we wrote yesterday. I think Paris inspires us, somehow. In some dark, twisted way, of course.”
After “Teenage Lightning,” John says, “Thank you. That’s, uh, a song that you probably recognize, uh. Updated version of, uh, one of our oldest never-hits. We always say that teenage lightning is the energy generated by two teenag-teen teenagers rubbed together.”
As “Wraiths and Strays” begins, John says, “And it doesn’t have to be teenagers. Could be old-aged pensioners. ‘Wraiths and Strays.’”
During the extended intro to “Black Antlers,” John says, “Cottage cheese from the lips of death, wherever you are. Leaf pores, with a lovely hump minute. Cyclical hump.”
John’s closing words are “Thank you very much, thank you. That’s it for tonight, and as you know, we never do encores, so thank you very much for coming, thank you very much indeed from all of us. We were Coil, ladies and gentlemen, we were Coil. Be kind to our mistakes, won’t you? Night-night.” A few moments of encore-calling pass before Peter returns to the stage and closes: “Uh, as many of you know, Coil do all, we shoot all of our stuff in one go, so, that’s it for tonight. Thank you very much for coming. Alright. We were Coil.”
John Balance – mini-harp (egg cutter) on “The Gimp (Sometimes)”.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.
Tom Edwards – marimba.
Cliff Stapleton – hurdy-gurdy.
Mike York – Breton bagpipes, duduk.
Massimo Villani, Pierce Wyss, and Ossian Brown were all in attendance at this show. As a matter of fact, I believe Massimo and Pierce saw every single “Black Antlers”-era Coil gig. This was also Mike York’s last concert with Coil ever.
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AMT #1 – Soundcheck
AMT #2 + AUD #1 + AUD #2 Matrix Mix
On the old Wassonii blog, Industrial (Eric) recalls: “”Remembering this wonderful night in Paris (I was backstage!)…I was lucky. What a day… My initial idea when coming in the Locomotive during the afternoon was only to give to John and Sleazy the typescript of my book about TG and related paths. But, they were so charming and kind that in the end I was present during the soundcheck, backstage, etc. I even eaten (no, not broccoli) with them and Black Sun Productions. A nice moment. The show was really great, powerful and beautiful. Unforgettable. I think this concert will be in the Colour Sound Oblivion set, because there were 2 cameramen (an old guy from Gong!, and Bernard Philipetti, ex leader of a french group called Art & Technique, kind of french Cabaret Voltaire at the beginning of the 80’s). They have filmed everything, even Coil walking in the streets or at the restaurant (maybe I’m in… would be funny).”
Steph Aceb attended this gig and remembers: “I met Peter during their visit to Paris for the concert of May 23, 2004. I hosted two of their friends for a few days. We spent the day and the evening together with the group. I have kept an excellent memory of it as you can imagine. Peter was often in the background and focused on the soundcheck, I admit to being a little intimidated during lunch. Jhon and I spent a lot of time talking after the show. Peter preferred to go back to the hotel. But I remember when he left us he hugged me as if we had known each other for a long time.”
Paul Cronly attended this gig and remembers: “Paris 2004. Myself and Lizzy traveled from Dublin, to visit our friend Justin, who had taken opportunity to study in Paris for a year. He was coming to the end of that year, and Lizzy and I finally managed to pay him, and Paris, a visit. Time was spent in leisurely fashion, doing usual tourist stuff. Usual tourist stuff for all 3 of us includes traipsing from record shop to record shop. As anyone who engages with this sort of thing will know, the urge to persevere and visit one more record shop will persist, long after all enjoyment has vanished from the endeavour. After a day of it, but with little to show, exhausted, we arrived at another small shop. With grim determination, Justin and I set upon looking through one row of vinyl after another. Lizzy’s enthusiasm waned and she found herself distractedly looking at the posters and ephemera attached to the walls. Approaching my side to ask if we were “done already”, Lizzy mentioned seeing a poster on the wall with the word Coil on it. She said the poster looked like it was an advertisement for a disco and not a live event, but that maybe I should take a look. Lizzy only knew I liked a band called Coil but wasn’t familiar with them, and Justin had never heard them, or of them. Amazingly, the poster was a small A4 advertisement for Coil’s Paris debut performance, that very evening. I was excited beyond belief, and Justin was dispatched forthwith to purchase our tickets (still available) and several hours later the three of us were in La Locomotive awaiting Coil’s appearance.
It took AGES for the band to come on stage. I was more than anxious, that the show might not go ahead, and thoughts of Jhonn going AWOL surfaced on more than one occasion. In addition, I worried that the wait had severely injured the goodwill and patience of my friends and that they would be in a grump throughout. Happily, neither scenario played out. When Coil did appear, Jhonn sported a beard like a 19th century French diplomat, and wore swaddling that looked like an unfastened straight-jacket, with part of his bum exposed. Sleazy and Thighpaulsandra were positioned to the left and right of the stage, obscured by cylindrical shower curtains. What I still marvel at, is how unaffected and natural all of this was. It wasn’t theatre, it was real, and utterly disarming. No overt attempt was made to make it “look” other than what it was, and in so doing, they managed to invest these stage props with real “magic”. From the get go, all three of us were dumbfounded and riveted by Jhonn, the music, and the experience. Upon its finish, we all agreed it was astonishing and one of the best gigs anyone of us had ever attended. Incidentally, Uncle Sleazy came out and politely thanked the crowd for their applause but kindly reported that Coil didn’t do encores. I thought it was an apt and perfect end to a perfect and life changing evening. A few months later, the 3 of us attended Coil’s final performance in Dublin Castle, and the news of Jhonn’s death soon after shook us, deeply. But that’s another story.”
SBD and EDIT – Escape Video, individual cameras manned by Phil, Fox, Sophie, and Bernard.
AUD #2 – Massimo Villani and Pierce Wyss.
Concert Recording Downloads
AUD #1 – Recording download link (archive.org).
AUD #2 – Recording download link (archive.org).
SBD – Recording download link (archive.org).
AMT #1 – Soundcheck footage (Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #11) Recording download link (archive.org).
AMT #2 – Recording download link (archive.org).
EDIT – (Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #11) Recording download link (archive.org).