2004 – Melkweg

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At Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL

03rd June 2004 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Set List

  1. The Gimp (Sometimes)
  2. Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)
  3. Broccoli (Version 2)
  4. All the Pretty Little Horses
  5. (I Can’t Get a Word in) Edgeways
  6. Tattooed Man (The Dark Age of Love)
  7. Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
  8. Wraiths and Strays

Background

Feeling: Shrouded

“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, much to their chagrin, as they didn’t get along well with William Bennett. This would be the only time Coil would skip the tour’s title track in any given performance on said tour.

The Gimp (Sometimes)

Audience member: “Show me your ass!”

Sometimes
It’s always sometimes
It’s only sometimes

John (after the song): “Good evening, we’re Coil! Please switch off your mobile telephones.”

Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)

John: “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].”
Audience member: “Put all the lyrics on there, Balance!”
John: “What?”
Audience member: “You put all the lyrics on there!”
John: “I haven’t all the lyrics on there. How dare you! I make it up as I go along.”
Audience member: “Whatever!”
John: “How dare you…”

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?

Sun Ra was here in his element
He had asked me back for a ride
I smiled, agreed, and we went to the place
That is full of the meanings for time and for space
He said he was leaving last tide

Sun Ra was here in his element
He asked me back for a ride
I smiled, agreed, and we left for the place
That is full of the reasons for time and for space
He said he was leaving last tide

He said, “I dream of colour music
And the intricacies of the machines that make it possible”
I said, “You are nothing if not inconsistent”
He said, “I rely on being persistent”
It is always now, forever
It is almost never for now
It is almost never for now

He said, “I will be alright if you hold me
It will be alright if you kissed me
It’ll be alright if you hold me
It’ll be alright if you kiss me”
Now is time to relaunch the dream weapon
Oh, now is time to relaunch the dream weapon
Now is time to relaunch the dream weapon
Now is time to relaunch the dream weapon

I thought, “Priceless, bloody priceless”
I thought, “Priceless, bloody priceless”

Petals depleted
Ear droplets repeated
Sepal separate
In a basin with black Pan
I see acid free
Not an ideal homeland for you and me
Desert venom and military temple
Black wings flying out without management or plan
Where resonated rub against delinquent and uncompliant
He said, “I will be alright if you kiss me
I will be alright if you kissed me”
In Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel
In Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel
Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel
In Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel

In Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel
In Harry Smith’s room in the Chelsea Hotel

John (after the song): “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.” This proposed EP never came to be.

Broccoli

John: “Oh, my mother hasn’t telephoned me in four years.”
Audience member: “Oh, boo hoo.”
Audience member: “Shame on her!”
John: “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 melonomers [sic]?”

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?
…Broccoli

All the Pretty Little Horses

John: “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.

John (after the 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.

(I Can’t Get a Word In) Edgeways

Low it about normal, low it about normal
Low it about normal
Huh!

Tattooed Man (The Dark Age of Love)

John: “I am waiting for the crunch of another naked lunch,” again referencing William S. Burroughs.

I’m waving them all away… [?]

There’s a man lying down in a grave somewhere
With the same tattoos as me
And I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him
There’s a man lying down in a bed somewhere
He’s got a different set of sex aspects
And I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him

There’s a man lying down in a grave somewhere
With the same tattoos as me
And I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him
Oh, and there’s a man lying down in a bed somewhere
With a different set of sex aspects
And I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him

Oh, this is me, here now
Whining like a dog
Pining like a dog in a thick harbour fog
Waiting for a ship that’ll make him sick
Waiting for a ship
And when the ship comes in
Then the troubles will begin

The church bells chime the colour of wine
The angels and the devils fight to snatch back stolen time
Oh, this is me, here now
Pining like a dog
Whining like a dog in a thick harbour fog
Waiting for a ship
Waiting for a ship that’ll make me sick
And when his ship comes in
Then the troubles will begin, ah!

There’s a man lying down
There’s a man lying down in a grave somewhere
With the same tattoos as me
And I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him
Oh, there’s a man lying down in a bed somewhere
And there’s a different set of sex aspects to me
And I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, yeow!

This is the dark age of love [repeated]

John (after the song): “Thank you.”

Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)

John: “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.” The song in question is called “Elusive Butterfly.”

It will not harm you
It’s only lightning, teenage lightning
Don’t, don’t be afraid
It’s only lightning, teenage lightning
It will not harm you, it will not harm you
It’s only lightning, teenage lightning

It will not harm you, it will not harm you
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be alarmed
It will not harm you
It’s only lightning, it’s only lightning
Teenage lightning

It will not harm you
It’s only lightning

It’s real, unbelievably real
It’s only lightning, teenage lightning
Teenage lightning, teenage lightning
Teenage lightning, teenage lightning
Teenage lightning
Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid
It will not harm you

[Yelping]
Ah, oh, ow!

It’s only lightning, teenage lightning
Don’t be afraid
It will not harm you
It’s only lightning, teenage lightning

After only a minute or so, Tom’s marimba stops working and he leaves the stage. The marimba is never fixed and he doesn’t play on the final song at all.

Wraiths and Strays

John: “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.”

Ow!
Ehhh, uh
I will follow and shoot!
Ah, I will follow and shoot!

Without Tom’s marimba, this version most closely resembles the “Radio Weston” instrumental version. Thighpaulsandra prominently plays a synth which sounds like a squeaky balloon. Towards the end, John notices Peter’s shower curtain slipping off, so he walks over to reset it, only for Ian to emerge from stage right and do so himself.

John looks back offstage and perhaps gets a signal from a stagehand to end the show. His closing words: “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!”

As if in protest, Thighpaulsandra continues to play an ominous synth tone akin to those which normally introduced “Black Antlers” for a little while before Ian emerges from stage left to aid him in taking off his shower curtain. Once it’s off, Thighpaulsandra waves to the audience, Ian walks over to Peter and takes his off too, Peter walks away, and Ian grabs the curtain to join him.

Line-up

John Balance – vocals, egg cutter/mini-harp on “The Gimp (Sometimes)”.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson – Ableton sequence, video projections, Clavia Nord Modular Synthesizer, Speak & Spell on “Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?)”
Thighpaulsandra – Fenix Synthesizer, Clavia Nord Modular Synthesizer, Kurzweil Synthesizer, Nord Modular patch on “(I Can’t Get a Word In) Edgeways”
Tom Edwards – marimba

Advertisements, Backstage or Related Promo Material

Ticket Stubs

Venue

Melkweg
Lijnbaansgracht 234a
1017 PH Amsterdam

Gallery

AMT #1

AMT #2

EDIT #1

Gig Review(s)

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 .

Attendee Recollections

Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey, and Carter Tutti wrote her recollections of this show in her memoir Art Sex Music, reproduced here to give further historical insight: “Just as our Carter Tutti album Cabal was getting radio play and gigs were coming in, World Serpent collapsed. They’d sold thousands of our CDs and we were to receive nothing. We weren’t the only ones. Coil were owed more than us. We’d talked to Sleazy about our World Serpent worries when we were in Amsterdam for a Kink FM gig. The line-up was Carter Tutti, Coil and Whitehouse. An odd mix, considering the animosity Sleazy and Geff had towards William Bennett. But good to see Coil in action…even if Geff was slumped out of his head at the back of stage for most of their show.”

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.”

Known Recordings

Tapes owners/taper:

EDIT #1 – Foreground camera angle – Claus Laufenburg; Background camera angle – Jeffrey Cornille.
AUD #1 – Massimo Villani and Pierce Wyss.

Concert Recording Downloads

AUD #1 – Recording download link (archive.org).
AUD #1 (Greg Reason Audio Restoration) – Recording download link (archive.org).
AMT #1 – Recording download link (archive.org).
EDIT #1  – (Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #12) Recording download link (archive.org).

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