Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Art of Gen

Saturday was Psychic TV at the Astoria with Crazy G and Dawn Right Nasty. Genesis P.Orridge took to the stage in a blast of 'Papal Breakdance', with new gold teeth, a neat blond bob, white mini-skirt, Psychic TV t-shirt (slogan: "Nothing Short Ov A Total Gender") ripped down the breastbone exposing handsome boob cleveage and hints of tattoo. He's even more injected, filled and painted and, in short, fabulous, than last time we saw him at the forum two years ago (imagine Judi Dench in best summer frock thrown to a pack of feral drag queens).

LOVED the music, as ever. Musically they are difficult to describe and with Gen a lot depends on who his current collaborators are. I guess it's part trippy psychadelia, part rock, part industrial dark bits. Plenty of impressive walls of sound and ground shaking cresendos. There was some great new stuff but also 'Terminus' from 'Force the Hand of Chance' (which was cheerfully introduced with 'this one will depress you!'). 'Papal Breakdance', was slightly reworked. 'Roman P' was so completely reworked I hardly recognised it. It had been slowed right down, meaning the sinister lyrics had a chance to sink in in a way they don't normally.

The sound seemed a bit odd for the first couple but they sorted that out fairly quickly. I thought that they sounded better than the Forum gig.

They played in front of some startling projections , including collaged close-ups of Gen being botoxed and surgically adjusted. Not surprisingly, given Gen's background, it was more like performance art than a gig. Like artist Orlan with a Velvets soundtrack. My favourite was the film of Gen and his "other half" (his words) Lady Jaye gliding around Times Square in fur coats, faces wrapped in bandages, but in full make-up, and relaxing, both at home and in medical environments, in four inch black patent heels to a slow New York love-song. Other projections included good old fashoned 'Temple of Psychic Youth' insignia (spinning crosses and wolves) various other operations and gender bending graphics.

Nice piece on him in the Guardian on Saturday (rightly described as 'rock's most notorious provocateur') and I admire Genesis for being uncompromising. But I was disappointed for the band that the place wasn't full to bursting. A half-empty venue can make you feel as though you are enjoying something unattached to the mainstream, but a strong personal vision needs sheckles in the bank and I hope they pull bigger crowds in the States for their sake. Gen seemed in a good mood though and having a great time on stage. There was no 'Godstar', no matter how many people shouted for it.

The atmosphere came crashing down at the end of the night, for me at least, with Jeremy Joseph's urgent tones over the PA ordering everyone out to make way for G.A.Y only about two seconds after Gen had left the stage. I knew that there would be a strict curfew being tight t-shirt night (you have to be at the Astoria on time for gigs on clubnights), but they DID play for two hours so I was more than happy. It was one of those gigs that you come out of blissfully smiling and almost walking on air. Jeremy Joseph would have hated it however and was probably locked away in some ante-chamber wishing death on PTV while unpacking flyers with pictures of Steps on.