At Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
03rd June 2004 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
- The Gimp (Sometimes)
- Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)
- Broccoli (Version 2)
- All the Pretty Little Horses
- (I Can’t Get a Word in) Edgeways
- Tattooed Man (The Dark Age of Love)
- Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
- Wraiths and Strays
“Even an Evil Fatigue” tour, “Black Antlers” phase. The last “major” tour of Coil’s existence.
Chris & Cosey and Whitehouse also performed. Coil’s set was shortened to make way for Whitehouse, which is why “Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?)” was not played.
Before “Sex With Sun Ra,” John says, “Good evening, we’re Coil! Please switch off your mobile telephones. This next track is, uh, about a man called Sony Blount, also known as Sun Ra, and this is called ‘Sex With Sun Ra.’ We wrote it about a week ago, which is why I have pieces of paper with some of the lyrics on, because it’s stream of [consciousness].” Someone shouts, “Put all the lyrics on there, Balance!” John says “What?” The same audience member says, “You put all the lyrics on there!” and John responds, “I haven’t all the lyrics on there. How dare you! I make it up as I go along. How dare you…” The audience member ends with, “Whatever!” During the conversation, Peter repeats the same sound effect over and over, perhaps indicating John to get on with it. The conversation itself brings up an interesting point – just how much is John actually reading from his lyrics stand versus making up the words as he goes along? After the song, John says “A work in progress. It’s gonna be an EP, maybe; I dreamt, I dreamt it was gonna be an EP with the gatefold sleeves, so we don’t know where that one will go. Somewhere around Saturn, probably.”
Before “Broccoli,” John laments, “Oh, my mother hasn’t telephoned me in four years.” One person says, “Oh, boo hoo,” while another shouts, “Shame on her!” John agrees, “Shame on her! Shame on me—I haven’t ‘phoned her either. Lord knows what we’d talk about if I did. Did you know that dogs can smell out malignant melonomas?” The lyrics to this version are probably the most variant, thus far:
Animal, mineral, vegetable (repeated)
Dig your genetics back into the soil
When you bury your mother, when you bury your father
Bury all the bad memories, bury the silent childhood moments
In the cupboard under the stars where you cowered
And the hot tears where you hid where you showered
When the people who didn’t protect again called you coward
When you ran away from home again and again, age 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 17, 21, and now and now and now and now
Did you ever ask them how and why, how and why
Why they wouldn’t listen, couldn’t listen, didn’t listen
Why they wouldn’t listen, couldn’t listen, shouldn’t listen
How was it for them when they were alive?
Before “All the Pretty Little Horses,” John says, “This next song is a traditional song you may have heard on a friend’s record and this one is dedicated to Mark Almond. He’s a good friend of ours but we haven’t managed to do that much work with him, but it’s in the pipeline. It’s in the pipeline.” John is referring to the 1996 Current 93 record of the same name, which includes a version of the song with vocals by Nick Cave. Sadly, Coil never worked with Marc Almond during this time or after.
As “Edgeways” begins, John says of the previous song, “Thank you. David Tibet [lead singer of Current 93] didn’t write that song, you know. It’s an old Appalachian American song, also done by Charlotte Church. It was her version I was borrowing, then.” Charlotte Church’s version can be found on her 2001 album Enchantment. Before he begins singing the proper lyric, he says, “Low it about normal, low it about normal. Low it about normal.”
As “Tattooed Man” begins, John says, “I am waiting for the crunch of another naked lunch,” again referencing William S. Burroughs. John thanks the audience after the song.
As “Teenage Lightning” begins, John says, “Teenage lightning is the energy generated when two teenagers are rubbed together. This was originally inspired by me watching Val Doonican when I was a little kid. He used to sing a song that I found very weird, about chasing butterflies of love.” After only a minute or so, Tom’s marimba stops working and he leaves the stage.
Before “Wraiths and Strays,” John says, “Oh, ho, ho, woah. We appear to be one man down, here. Something electronic has gone strange, electrically, but we will manage. We will manage.” Tom does not join the band for the song. This version of the song itself makes use of a noise that resembles a squeaking balloon.
To end the show, John says, “Thank you! We’ve just been told we gotta go now, so thank you for coming again to see us, thank you for coming if you want to see us. We’ll see you again when we can. Thank you, goodnight!”
John Balance – mini-harp (egg cutter) on “The Gimp (Sometimes)”.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.
Tom Edwards – marimba.
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The following is a review of the concert, translated into English from Dutch via Google Translate which also contains reviews of Chris and Cosey and Whitehouse. You can find the original here:
The experimental music also looks back. This year there was a one-time reunion concert of the legendary Throbbing Gristle, which was renewing in the 1970s and made the band recordings again. This evening three of the four original members of Throbbing Gristle played in the Melkweg with their later bands (Chris & Cosey and Coil) that started in the eighties.
Coil started appearing only a few years ago. Their albums from the eighties, Scatology and Horse Rotorvator , are still considered masterpieces. But nothing was played during this performance. The performance came across theatrically with a John Balance in white straitjacket-like clothes, which regularly jumped like a ballerina. And two musicians operated electronic instruments on the side in a pillar-like construction of black and white cloth.
The music was not exactly background music to drink a beer at the bar with some friends. But for those who were open to it, it was particularly beautiful. The singing at Coil is more talking than singing, but that suited the alienating music. The songs often have a reasonably accessible basis, but the added sounds make it a music for a small cultfollowing .
Maarten Schermer attended this gig and remembers: “Melkweg: the show started with something resembling falling snow projected over the band, which went on long enough to create the visual illusion that John was slowly drifting upwards. during ‘sometimes’ he played a solo on the strings of an actual egg cutter, which i loved. Peter and thighps were both playing from inside a circular tent that was attached to their back, so that it moved with them, which at times made them look like large, swaying creatures. Re: the “Thank you! We’ve just been told we gotta go now…” – I think I remember there was a rumour going round the band had planned an additional song (black antlers?) but had to finish before that to make way for Whitehouse, who closed the evening (Chris & Cosey had been on before Coil – quite a line-up). Whitehouse were predictably (and intentionally, presumably) irritating, so not the best of trade-offs.”
EDIT – Foreground camera angle – Claus Laufenburg; Background camera angle – Jeffrey Cornille.
AUD – Massimo Villani and Pierce Wyss.