2000 – Sonar Festival

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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. 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 (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. (The second incarnation of the song, played during the Spring and Summer 2002 shows, would return to the Autumn Equinox template.) As officially expressed on the back of the Live One (2003), Coil retitled “Chasms” to “(Blue) Chasms.” “The Universe is a Haunted House” is a brief interstitial; the title is a reference to William Burroughs, and John later recycled it on at least two completely different songs. “Elves” comes from the abandoned Backwards sessions from the early-to-late 90s.

Feeling: Fluffy

Instead of reusing the John Dee backdrop from the previous gig, Coil hung a backdrop of a bent pink sperm on a red background, referring to their artistic ideas of sperm and its connection to motherhood on Queens of the Circulating Library (2000). The CD is packaged in a similar shade of pink clamshell case and the CD itself has art of sperm on it.

William Breeze (aka Bill Breeze, as he’s usually known by) joined Coil for this show. He had previously played viola and guitar on Coil’s Moon’s Milk series. The band considered him an official band member and wanted him to play more shows, however he would only ever play just this one, due to prior obligations with his occult activities. While the others wore their polar bear suits, Breeze wore ordinary black clothes, as most of their backup musicians would during most of their shows.

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, more or less all at the same time.

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. His vocals can barely be heard and his delivery is relatively nascent and monotone, compared to subsequent performances.

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 stands by his laptop. First, Thighpaulsandra waves a wand over his head as John and Ossian reflect light from mirrors into the audience. Then, Ossian and John throw handfuls of tiny plastic mirrors at the crowd, 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 and moves it around, guiding John’s gaze.

The Universe is a Haunted House

The universe is a haunted house
The universe is a haunted house



This line comes 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 any live, unprocessed vocals. A few audience members jump when he starts screaming.

Halfway through, a random woman garbed in a tight, glittered jumpsuit emerges from a white sheet and starts dancing to the song onstage. 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. Whatever the case, apparently, the band were dissatisfied with her performance and worked to give their future choreographers more specific instructions on their onstage behavior.

The Barcelona Aural Backdrop

John reportedly gave Peter’s CDr containing the pre-recorded backing music Coil used at this show to a fan afterward. 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.

Peter relied on CDs containing pre-recorded music throughout all of the 2000 and 2001 shows. Contrary to popular belief, he would not use Ableton Live until the beginning of the “Anarcadia” tour in March 2002. With the program, he could manipulate, remix and re-edit the individual backing audio tracks on-the-fly, dramatically evolving the sound capabilities of Coil’s live shows.


John Balance – vocals, performance art on “(Blue) Chasms)”
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson – backing audio track, 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 and the dancer 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



AMT #1

AMT #1 is only available on YouTube in parts, uploaded by eskaton2012 in May 2008. Later comments posted under the videos indicate the poster may have passed away. RIP, mate.

In July 2022, I ripped the video uploads from YouTube and re-edited them together, fixing visual issues where I could. Here’s a side-by-side comparison between part one of the original video and my re-edit:

AMT #2


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 EDIT #1 – Fabijan Rainer

Source Quality Complete Length Lowest Gen Comments
AUD #1a 8/10 No 51 min M1, FLAC Numerous cuts on “Everything Keeps Dissolving,” various cuts elsewhere. Officially released as Disc B of Live One.
AUD #1b 6/10 No 51 min M?, 256 kbps MP3 Real Media audio stream, originally available to download on the Kaaos and Vanleeuwen forums shortly after the concert took place and before the official release of Live One. "Everything Keeps Dissolving" has the same cuts as AUD #1a but the applause after "Elves" is cut.
AMT #1 7+/10 No 55 min M?, YouTube Uploaded by eskaton2012 in five parts on YouTube in May 2008. “Everything Keeps Dissolving” cuts in. Not used on Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #2.
AMT #2 7-/10 No 50 min M?, MKV Surfaced October 10, 2020 (thanks, Christophe). Possible lineage: Analog video source (?) > ? > DVDr > remuxed MKV. Background camera angle used on Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #2, albeit in worse quality. Numerous cuts throughout and some portions are in negative. The zooms appear to be a part of the video rather than added digitally, but closer zooms appear more pixelated than those zoomed out. Unofficially bootlegged on the limited DVDr Live In Barcelona 17th June 2000.
EDIT #1 8-/10 Yes 59 min M1, MKV 2-camera angles (amateur), uses a mix of camera and AUD #1 audio. The frame is unfortunately cropped, with black bars above, below, and on the sides of the video. Employs some video effects and different angle overlays. Officially released as Colour Sound Oblivion DVD #2.
WP Data Tables

Recording Downloads

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

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