2000 – Sonar Festival

Home »  2000 »  2000 – Sonar Festival

< Prev Show                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next Show >

At Sonar Festival, Barcelona

17th June 2000 – Sónar Festival – Mar Bella, Barcelona, Spain

Set List

  1. Everything Keeps Dissolving
  2. Amethyst Deceivers (Version 1)
  3. Queens of the Circulating Library
  4. (Blue) Chasms
  5. The Universe is a Haunted House
  6. Elves


“Time Machines from the Heart of Darkness” phase. William Breeze (or Bill Breeze, as he’s usually known by) joined Coil for this show. He previously performed on several studio albums with the band, most notably the Moon’s Milk series, using both viola and guitar. Coil considered him an official band member and would have had him play more live shows, however he would only ever play this concert, due to obligations with his occult activities.

Instead of reusing the John Dee backdrop from the previous gig, Coil hung an image of a bent sperm on a pink background. This is an direct connection to the physical Queens of the Circulating Library (2000) album (which came in a pink clamshell case), and to the song, how semen relates to motherhood.

Feeling: Fluffy

Debut performance of “Amethyst Deceivers (Version 1),” final performances of “Everything Keeps Dissolving,” “Queens of the Circulating Library,” and “(Blue) Chasms,” only performances of “The Universe is a Haunted House” and “Elves.” This first live version of “Amethyst Deceivers” largely differs from the one originally released on the Autumn Equinox EP (September 1998), instead sounding more electronic and noise-driven. It would serve as the template for all live performances of the song in 2000 and 2001. Starting in March – July 2002, Coil would return to the Autumn Equinox template for a second live incarnation of the song. “Chasms” was re-titled “(Blue) Chasms,” as officially expressed on the back of the Live One (2003) double-CD album. “Elves” is from the abandoned Backwards sessions from the early to late 90s.

Everything Keeps Dissolving

John (before the song): “Thank you for coming. We’re Coil.”

After the song, the band members take off their suits’ hoodies.

Amethyst Deceivers

Pay your respects to the vultures
For they are your future
Our fathers and mothers
Have failed to release us
Into the welcoming arms
Of the amethyst deceivers

Pay your respects to the vultures
Pay your respects to the vultures
For they are your future

John doesn’t sing until near the end of the song, and even then, his vocals can barely be heard, not to mention his delivery is relatively nascent and monotone.

Queens of the Circulating Library

I am the Queen of the Circulating Library
(I am the Queen of the Circulating Library)
I am here to answer your inquiries
The industrial use of semen will revolutionize the human race
It will revolutionize human society

This is for all new mothers
And for all you circulators
You astral navigators waiting for permission to land
The Mothership and the Fatherland

Tell your unborn sons and daughters
Don’t believe in earthbound lies
The stars themselves could chain the truth
The future is written in the skies

The industrial use of semen will revolutionize the human race
The industrial use of semen will revolutionize human society

(Blue) Chasms

John, Thighpaulsandra, and Ossian pantomime some sort of Alesiter Crowley-inspired ritual as Peter plays music. First, Thighpaulsandras waves a wand as John and Ossian reflect light from mirrors into the audience. Then, Ossian and John throw handfuls of tiny mirrors at the audience, which some audience members take and stick onto their foreheads. Finally, Ossian goes to play synthesizer, John lays down on a little altar behind the band’s instruments, and Thighpaulsandra stands over him. After some time, John sits up as Thighpaulsandra grabs the wand, moving it around, and guiding John’s gaze.

The Universe is a Haunted House

This track is a brief, likely improvised interlude. John would later recycle the title on at least two completely different songs.



This single line was taken from the Captain Beefheart song “Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee.” Numerous studio demos and alternate versions of the track have surfaced over the years, but to our knowledge, this is the only version where John sings live, unprocessed vocals, in addition to the pre-recorded vocals on the backing audio track.

Halfway through, a random woman garbed in a tight jumpsuit reveals herself onstage and starts dancing to the song. Thighpaulsandra later said that none of them knew who she was or where she came from, yet Jon Whitney insists that Peter hired her and the band knew her.

“The Barcelona Aural Backdrop”

John reportedly gave the CDr containing the backing audio track mixdowns Coil used live to a fan after the show. These tracks eventually surfaced on a bootleg called The Barcelona Aural Backdrop and are only available through this means – Peter did not officially release them on the Coil Reconstruction Kit.

Starting at the next show, 2000-09-19 Royal Festival Hall, and continuing for the rest of Coil’s live career, Peter would mix audio tracks in Ableton Live on-the-fly instead of relying so heavily on pre-recorded music on CDrs.


John Balance – vocals, performance art on “(Blue) Chasms)
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson – Ableton sequence, Fenix Synthesizer, Kurzweil Synthesizer
Thighpaulsandra – Fenix Synthesizer, Kurzweil Synthesizer, performance art on “(Blue) Chasms)
Simon Norris (Ossian Brown) – Kurzweil Synthesizer, performance art on “(Blue) Chasms)
William Breeze* – viola
Unknown female dancer – dancing on “Elves”

*This was the only time that William Breeze played live with Coil.

Advertisements, Backstage or Related Promo Material

Ticket Stubs

Please email us on info@live-coil-archive.com if you have any ticket stubs from this event.


Sonar 2000
Music, Creativity & Technology



A Portion of AMT #1

This recording is only available on YouTube in parts, uploaded by eskaton2012 in May 2008. Later comments on the videos indicate the poster may have passed away. RIP, mate.


Attendee Recollections

Balance said of the show: “We had a fantastic time. Wonderful city with gorgeous and great spirited people. we met up wih V/VM people, Matmos, La Bradford. Larry Thrasher and Bryin Dall of Thee Majesty (avoided GPO himself), Russell Haswell, Autechre, Vicki from People Like Us, hung out with Radiohead and Marc Almond. MET STOCKHAUSEN after his performance of Hymnen which started the Festival off. Bill asked if he would be an honourary member of COIL and he agreed. We’d like to thank all the great people who put so much effort into it. And to the people who came to see us from all over the USA and Europe. Sorry about the near riots to get into the COIL gig. It was massively overwhelmed, beseiged is more the word I’m looking for.”

Jon Whitney, to paraphrase, remembers he stood next to a guy wearing a Phish t-shirt who was clearly tripping while recording this show. According to him, at the beginning of the recording, you can hear the guy say, “How long do you think this is gonna last?” possibly referring to either the show or the drugs. This guy had a camera, and at one point sat down in the middle of the show and just haphazardly taped the ceiling and backdrop behind the band. I asked Jon if maybe this could have occurred during the previous show at Royal Festival Hall, since the same thing happened there and he also attended that show, but he maintains this occurred at Barcelona. Jon also states that none of the recordings, not even his own, do the power of the bass present at the show any justice whatsoever.

marsipan remembers: “I was there, at the live performance in Sonar Festival, Barcelona. It was unforgetable, one of the most haunting musical performances/shows I have ever witnessed. At one point we were handed small shiny plastic disks to stick on our foreheads, and as a strong strong light walked on the audience, you could see the reflections from the discs like rays coming out people’s heads, perfectly traced by the smoke – brilliant!:). The music was right, the place was right, the mood was right… thick layers of electronic sounds, slowly changing and pulsating over time, episodes of percussive madness, powerful bass. This is music to be experienced, not to listen to in your sofa at home.”

Known Recordings

Tapes owners/taper:

AUD #1 – Jon Whitney
One of the AMTs used in the EDIT – Fabijan Rainer

Recording Downloads

AUD #1a – Officially released as Disc B of Live One [Discogs link].
AMT #1 – Used on Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #2. Audio recording download link (archive.org).
AMT #2 – Recording download link (archive.org).
Aural BackdropRecording download link (archive.org).

< Prev Show                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next Show >