Sunday, 29 May 2016

Throbbing Gristle at Kezar Pavilion

"Thank-you and goodnight. That's the end of Throbbing Gristle" 
To mark the 35th anniversary of the dissolution (of sorts) of Throbbing Gristle, I've been listening to the Kezar Pavilion concert which took place on May 29th 1981 in San Francisco. The group's termination date had been predetermined in the weeks before the two US shows, by this point the sense of weariness within the group was palpable - the Los Angeles concert the week before had been one of TG's most shambolic performances, but perhaps recognizing the historical significance of the Kezar date, TG sound focused and cohesive, if understandably melancholic. Evidently the split was on Gen's mind, in his subdued introduction he quietly intones, "It's a strange experience to finish" and on the track Guts on the Floor (whose title reads like a statement on COUM's transgressive actions), Gen is heard singing the line "Ending it all this way, ending it all today". The influence of 20 Jazz Funk Greats is apparent at Kezar - Persuasion is given a humorous US slant ("I remember this story told to me by Jim Jones just before he went to Guyana"), and Circle of Animals and Looking for the O.T.O are essentially re-writes of Tanith and Still Walking. One of the more personally pleasing aspects of the Kezar show is the presence of a sample of dialogue from my favourite film Apocalypse Now, heard during Funeral Rites - "Terminate with extreme prejudice. You understand Captain that this mission does not exist nor will it ever exist", which neatly reflects TG's official statement a month later on the cessation of all activities, which simply read "The Mission is Terminated"

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