LYDIA LUNCH & MARC HURTADO + TINA KIT – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 11.11.23
I’m pretty certain that if my partner Jordan Mooney (RIP) was still with us, that she would have absolutely attended this evening’s choice of concert! Up on Queens Road, Brighton this evening on the first floor of The Hope & Ruin courtesy of promoters DHP Presents, the full capacity crowd were in the company of the legend that is Lydia Lunch. I can just imagine Jordan and American singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker Lydia exchanging hugs and banter on such subjects as: their favourite tipples (Tanqueray gin and decent red wine respectively); the New York music scene in the second half of the 1970’s; Andy Warhol; Max’s Kansas City; the Ramones; clothes and fashion; punk rock on both sides of the Atlantic; New York Dolls; and the exploits of American musical duo vocalist Alan Vega and instrumentalist Martin Rev aka Suicide.
It is this final selection that brings us all here this evening as Lydia has teamed up with Moroccan born musician Marc Hurtado and the duo have set about re-interpreting the work of Suicide and Alan Vega and delivering it in an aural noise music barrage to the faithful fans and also the inquisitive gig goers that have taken a punt and bought a ticket in order to be in the company of legend Lydia for an hour!
Lydia Lunch crossed paths with legendary Alan Vega and Martin Rev of Suicide upon her arrival in New York at the tender age of sixteen. Throughout her life thus far Lydia has been a nomadic gypsy in eternal metamorphosis that almost lost her life for her art dozens of times. Musician, writer, photographer and performance artist, she appeared in the New York music scene in 1977 with the project founder No Wave, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. In search of inspiration and cooperation she worked with Karen Finley, Hubert Selby Jr, Nick Cave, William Burroughs or Virginie Despentes, she lived in New York, Brooklyn, New Orleans, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and London. She has visited well in excess of 600 cities to perform on stage for concerts, spoken word, installations in clubs, theatres and museums.
The first Suicide show she attended was a real shock! It was a revelation on a new form of a concert. It was a total show, very theatrical, free, and violent. Lydia then got to perform on stage with the band and appeared on the record ‘Frankie Teardrop’ by the duo. She also sang a duet with Alan Vega on the album ‘Sniper’ by Alan Vega and Marc Hurtado in 2010.
Marc Hurtado met Alan Vega and Lydia Lunch when they supplied vocals to his Étant Donnés ‘Re-Up’ album which dropped in 1999. French duo Étant Donnés, were one of the leading acts of the industrial/experimental European scene since the late 70s. The record also features Genesis P-Orridge, plus collaborations by Mark Cunningham and Bachir Attar, leader of The Masters Musicians of Jajouka. Étant Donnés interestingly was named after Marcel Duchamp’s last major work. The group consisted of brothers Marc and Eric Hurtado and worked mainly as performance artists and musicians. Marc Hurtado and Lydia Lunch have previously also worked together and released the ‘My Lover The Killer’ album.
Marc Hurtado is not only a musician and filmmaker, but also a poet, and painter. He has made more than 20 albums and played concerts around the world in places like Kitchen (New York), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), and the Atonal Festival (Berlin). He has collaborated with many other cult figures including Michael Gira (Swans), Gabi Delgado (DAF), and Mark Cunningham (MARS).
Lydia and Marc are tonight offering up a 52 minute ten song sonic “Blitzkrieg” of the work of Suicide and Alan Vega, which set about pounding our eardrums at 9:09pm. Lydia was naturally centre-front stage and had two microphones on their tall stands on the go. They were, I presume, deliberately positioned a little high for her and thus having almost to stand on high-heeled tip toe in order to deliver the gravelly vocal barrage at us. The difference in the two mics being that her right one had more echo than the left. It seemed that throughout the performance that the vocal lines were delivered in alternate sequences.
Marc on the other hand was positioned to the rear left (our right) of the stage and was in control of three Pioneer decks replete with accompanying knobs to twiddle. He also had the use of a hand held microphone, which he delivered not so much words but noises. He regularly whacked the mic against his upper torso and then immediately sampled the resulting bang into the sound of the loud pumping electronic bass music. It’s fair to say that Marc was certainly giving it his all this evening, and as I was watching him, I recalled the Front 242 concerts I had been to in 1989 and 1993, as the shouts, banging electronic synth beats were very much akin to them.
It then stuck me that a ‘concert’, no scrap that, ‘musical art installation’ like this, really should not be happening here in the standard gig venue, but why hadn’t it taken place up the road in the secret tunnel under Brighton Railway Station, which had been boarded off to the public for the past hundred years, and opened up a couple of weeks back for the multi-media display which was filled with free video and sound installations as part of the Dreamy Place festival. That’s where tonight should have happened!
As it was, The Hope was so rammed that I was literally unable to move my feet from the spot centre-front as there was literally no room to move, such was the interest in this ten track performance! Sadly there wasn’t a disturbing backing film to accompany the music, but maybe all eyes need to be focused on Lydia? The selection of tunes reflected Marc’s involvement with Alan Vega, as half of the tracks are to be found on their 2019 ‘Sniper’ collaboration album, which can be heard HERE. The other 50% of the compositions were taken from Suicide’s self-titled debut album from 1977 – these being ‘Ghost Rider’ (one of my Suicide faves) and the harrowing ‘Frankie Teardrop’ (my least fave Suicide track ever!) – one track first released on 1978’s legendary ‘21½ Minutes In Berlin / 23 Minutes In Brussels’ album, that song being ‘Harlem’; ‘Touch Me’ from 1980’s ‘Suicide: Alan Vega · Martin Rev’ album; and the final one (‘Viet Vet’) from Vega’s solo ‘Collision Drive’ album from 1981. I think you’ll agree not the obvious choice selections!
But let’s face it, are the duo here to please? Twice during the gig we were instructed by Lydia NOT to applaud after the tunes, as if it was abhorrent to her anti-commercial punk ethics. Thus there was no ‘Cheree’, ‘Che’, ‘Dream Baby Dream’ or finally ‘Rocket U.S.A.’, that being in my mind the touchpaper for everything that ever was and is Sigue Sigue Sputnik. This, for me, was a real shame and even ‘Ghost Rider’ didn’t really stick to the script. I had the feeling that a majority of the lyrics were ad libbed and quite often those that were growled at us were clearly about the toils of and repulsion of war. My brain and others were well and truly fried by the conclusion of the final number, ‘Frankie Teardrop’, which ended at 10:01pm, so much so to the extent that two grown men started a proper fist fight in the venue!
So in summing up, as Marc’s t-shirt read “Suicide or Murder You Decide”.
Lydia Lunch ft Marc Hurtado:
Lydia Lunch – vocals
Marc Hurtado – vocals/electronics/samples
Lydia Lunch ft Marc Hurtado setlist:
‘Touch Me’ (original found on Suicide’s 1980 ‘Suicide: Alan Vega · Martin Rev’ album)
‘Juke Bone Done’ (original found on Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega’s 2019 ‘Sniper’ album)
‘Sniper’ (original found on Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega’s 2019 ‘Sniper’ album)
‘Ghost Rider’ (original found on Suicide’s 1977 ‘Suicide’ album)
‘Sacrifice’ (original found on Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega’s 2019 ‘Sniper’ album)
‘Bang Bang’ (original found on Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega’s 2019 ‘Sniper’ album)
‘War’ (original found on Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega’s 2019 ‘Sniper’ album)
‘Viet Vet’ (original on Alan Vega’s 1981 ‘Collision Drive’ album)
‘Harlem’ (original found on Suicide’s 1978 ‘21½ Minutes In Berlin / 23 Minutes In Brussels’ album)
‘Frankie Teardrop’ (original found on Suicide’s 1977 ‘Suicide’ album)
Following on from our review of Haircut 100’s Bexhill gig on the previous night (Review HERE) where their support was “Barbara”, this evening’s support came from Tina Kit. Neither of these actually being a solo female act, but in fact male bands! Who’d a thought eh?
Tina Kit are a Brighton formed noise band of four guys, namely, Mack Kniese who plays the trumpet, Cole Flynn Quirke is on guitar, trumpet and vocals, Sonny Barrett is behind the drums, Cai Mooney is on bass and vocals, and finally Ketan Jandoo is on bass and vocals. They are a very different prospect to the aforementioned Barbara! To put it bluntly they are purveyors of genre-f*cking wedgie rock, and will grab you by the waistband and have you hanging loose to their scattershot riffs, angular yelps, and capricious sense of swampy rhythm, that at once speaks to the brattishness of the Birthday Party and the wiry guitar driven snarl of post-rock outfits like Unwound.
The Tina Kit lads got it together a couple of years ago and have thus far dropped a trio of singles ‘Motorway Trees’, ‘The Burning Sea’ and ‘Bug Kid’. All of these can be found on Spotify. Also of note is an improvised noise seventeen and a half minute set live at TST XX with Ashley Marlowe on drums, which is titled ‘Ashes Of Tina’. This is available on Bandcamp.
This evening at The Hope & Ruin the quintet, who are smartly dressed in suits, look as though they are touting for gigs at bah mitzvahs, weddings and birthday parties, cunningly lure the punters into a false sense of security prior to performing a single note. However all is revealed on the dot at 8pm as the Greco guitar, bass, drums and two trumpets are called into action! Foot pedal distortion is very much the name of the game throughout their 23 minute seven song performance. This is certainly challenging stuff from the off, and no wonder they were selected as Lydia and Marc’s support act!
The lead vocal duties are shared across three of the lads (Cole, Cai and Ketan) for different numbers throughout the set. But the result is all the same, vein-popping screams! I thought the initial use of the small circular hand-held mic was a decent touch, and drummer Sonny’s attack of his kit is arguably not matched anywhere throughout Brighton. Not even my drummer mate, who is another Sonny, funnily enough!
The performance has a very much freestyle vibe about it, with each player appearing to do their own thing, but I suspect that this might not actually be the case with this outfit. Although it’s worth flagging up that for the final number bassist Ketan actually gave his bass guitar to a guy in the audience to play and then onto another chap to have a go as well. This second bloke was so thrilled, that immediately after the performance had finished at 8:24pm, he arrived back at the stage with a drink for Ketan, it had the appearance of a whisky and coke. For a majority of the set, they are a quartet as (I think) Mack quietly sits it out for a few numbers by the side of the stage, only to add his second trumpet capabilities at the conclusion.
Tina Kit performed the sort of music that my mum would have shouted at me to “turn that racket down”, which no doubt would seriously please these lads. Job done then!
Cole Flynn Quirke – guitar/trumpet/vocals
Cai Mooney – bass/vocals
Ketan Jandoo – bass/vocals
Sonny Barrett – drums
Mack Kniese – trumpet
Tina Kit setlist:
‘Paving The Goddamn’
‘Chingus Is The Pipe Dream’
‘Blueprint To Bango’
‘Beautiful Texan (The Clue Is Up Her Nose)’
‘Yr Husbands Husband’