At Ocean, London
25th July 2004 – Ocean, London, England
- The Gimp (Sometimes)
- Sex With Sun Ra (Part One – Saturnalia)
- Broccoli (Version 2)
- All the Pretty Little Horses
- Tattooed Man (The Dark Age of Love)
- Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)
- (I Can’t Get a Word in) Edgeways
- Wraiths and Strays
- Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?) (Bam Bam Cover)
“Even an Evil Fatigue” tour, “Black Antlers” phase. The last “major” tour of Coil’s existence.
Estimated attendance: 500.
Merchandise sold at the gig: “Selvaggina, Go Back into the Woods” (2004)
Final live performances of all songs. This particular gig includes exclusive versions of many of the songs. The effect Tom would employ of his marimba during “Broccoli,” he utilizes on many of the songs, here. Thighpaulsandra also employs the vocal looper the band previously used at other shows.
As “Sex With Sun Ra” begins, John says, “Oh my goodness, thank you guys very much. Permit me to pursue the spastic position, this evening. This next song is about someone I had in my pantheon, in my, uh, special solar system, and I never had him of an evening. It’s called ‘Sex With Sun Ra.’” After the song, he says, “Oh, thank you! Oh, thank you!”
Before and as “Broccoli” begins, John says, “When I was about nine, my stepfather – we lived in Germany at the time – he took me to the dam, which is featured in the film The Dambusters – the bouncing bombs destroyed it and flooded this valley – and he dangled me over this dam by my, the clothes I was wearing, and then, when he put me back on the ground again, he hit me, because I started crying. I never figured that one out, really.” Many of the audience members laugh as he tells this story – perhaps they think John is just joking. Enter this female audience member, who says, “Why are you so far away?” John responds, “Why am I so far away? It’s the spaces between us that keep us together, really. Oh, I didn’t, I didn’t set this place up. I am shivering constantly with you in mind. So I’m dedicating this song to my stepfather – who I do not get on with – and to my father, and to my stepfather’s father who was in the British Raj, and to his father who probably did the same things to him that he did to my stepfather, who then did them to me. All with a twist of warfare within. All with a little twist of warfare within. Oh no, no, no.” The Dambusters was a WWII war film released in 1955, and that same woman would plague the band throughout the rest of their set.
I actually broached the subject of John’s familial stories to Thighpaulsandra once, who told me that the stories, though embellished and exaggerated, were not entirely made up, and that it is a very British thing for gay men to hate their families. This dam story might actually be true, to some extent. Of course, looking back through these gigs, mostly just during “Broccoli,” John frequently discussed the distance he felt between all his family members, and to my knowledge, he never really patched things up with his family. With that said, according to Thighpaulsandra, John’s mother and sister were and continue to be devastated by his death, so it’s not as if all his relationships were beyond reconciliation.
After “Broccoli,” John says, “Oh my, thank you. All vegetables, yes. I didn’t mention many vegetables that time, but garlic’s very good at the moment. I’m eating about two bowls a day with my boyfriend, two bowls a day,” earning him some laughs. “That’s why there’s a distance between us, for your own safety. You’re welcome!”
The audience cheers as “All the Pretty Little Horses” begins. After the song and before “Tattooed Man,” he says, “We need to make it like that one/animal (?). This next one, if I’ve got the right song, is dedicated to Marc Almond. I think quite a lot of you went to see him, this week, and I wished I’d been able to be there. It is ‘Tattooed Man.’” If John did indeed say “We need to make it like that one,” perhaps he’s referring to a studio version of the song, which never came to be. John is also alluding to Marc Almond’s then-recent motorcycle accident, which left him severely injured. The next gig at Dublin was advertised as a healing ritual for him. During the song, John sings part of the lyrics to “Unhappy Rabbits,” a song performed at Dublin: “I’m shiny, I’m happy, I’m dead / I’ve broken the code of youth in my head / I’m shiny, I’m laughing, happy, and I’m dead / I’ve broken the code of youth in my head / I’m shining, laughing, happy, dead / I’ve broken the cult of youth in my head.”
During the intro to “Teenage Lightning,” John says, “The energy given out when two teenagers are rubbed together.” After the song, John says, “That’s an older one. Old electricity, aliet [sic] trickery.” The woman heckler says, “Take your rags off!” John responds, “What?” She repeats her command and John replies, “Take my rags off? Never! Never!” A man in the audience says, “Now!”
John opens “(I Can’t Get a Word in” Edgeways” with a scream. His vocal loops proceed John says, “Everything’s falling down. Everything’s falling down.” An audience member says, “I can’t get a train to edgewhere [sic]!” John keeps saying “I can’t get a word in edgeways” as the loops segway into “Wraiths and Strays.”
After “Wraiths and Strays,” John says, “Low it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal. We lower it about normal, lower it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal.” The woman heckler yells at him, “Yes! Fucking die!” John says, “Huh?” She continues, “Go fucking die, yeah?” earning her various jeers and “Fuck you”’s from the other audience members and maybe even the band members. John responds with a soft laugh and says, “You don’t want me dead. I’m always dead. If you kill me, I’ll have to live forever. Do that.” I think another person says, “Save the alcohol.” The band goes into a jam that sounds like the original version of “Sometimes” from the 2002-06-07 Den Haag gig, given the phaser on Cliff’s hurdy-gurdy before “Black Antlers (Where’s Your Child?)” begins proper. John says, “Low it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal, low it about normal.” An audience member shouts, “Louder!” John continues, “And each day to the steps, a simple horse. The little old birdie comes. Feed the birds. Tuppence a bag, tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. ‘Feed the bird,’ that’s what she says. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. Feed the birds. That’s what she says. What…a little bird’s stop. Feed the birds. Oh, feed the birds. Feed the birds. Of all things (?), feed the birds. Feed the birds. Feed the birds. Feed the worms. Feed the worms. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag a little.” He then sings some of the lyrics to “All the Pretty Little Horses”: In your dreams, you shall ride, while your mommy watches over. In your dreams, in your dreams, you shall ride, ah! While your mommy watches over, while your mommy watches over. While your mummy watches over. While your mummy, mum, mummy watches over. Will she be better, will she be the best (?), will she be the belle (?), will she be the best, in your dreams (repeated)…in a meadow, in a meadow, lies a poor, little lamby. Lies a poor, little lamby. Lies a poor, little lamby, oh. Lies a poor, little, no, lamby, lies a poor little lamby, yow!” After the song, John concludes, “Selvaggina, go fucking to the woods! Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming, uh, you made us tonight feel our largest (?), my goodness. Thank you, we were Coil. Until the next time, goodnight.”
Davide Gostoli attended this show and remembers that there was a sexual element to the show, with some gay men fooling around during the performance.
Terv Terran attended this gig. He remembers: “The last time I saw Coil, something was clearly wrong. For the first time ever (for me, at least – I have spoken to other people who enjoyed the gig very much) there was little or no magic. Maybe it was just an off-day, but the performance at the Hackney Ocean (now closed) in 2004 honestly felt like a death of some kind. What goes up must come down, I suppose.”
Robin Rimbaud attended this gig and says, “I remember so vividly looking through them and thinking to myself, I wonder what will happen to these one day. Too many memories of that night. I remember it was the first time (as a vegetarian) that I ate Quorn Fake Meat as we all did backstage.”
Angakok Thoth attended this gig. He remembers: “it was bit worse @ ocean/london, because the club closed like 10-15 minutes after the concert ended. so there was a crowd of tripping people in front of the club for quite a while…always took some to get back on the earth”
RileyElFunk, who attended this gig, remembers: “The Ocean was the venue with the worst sound. I think it just had shitty acoustics. The gig was great, but it didn’t take you right out of it, the way the better venues did.”
John Balance – mini-harp (egg cutter) on “The Gimp (Sometimes)”.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.
Tom Edwards – marimba.
Cliff Stapleton – hurdy-gurdy.
This was Tom Edwards’ last concert with Coil ever.
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London Hackney Ocean
270 Mare Street,
SBD – Tim Sutherland.
AUD #1 – Darius Akashic.
AUD #2 – Anders Bruskeland.
AMT – Davide Gostoli.