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Lydia Lunch Retrovirus

Some time ago, Manny had told me that he was booking a show for Lydia Lunch later in the summer. I was extremely excited for it, and I tried to get us on the bill. Making the right decision, Manny did not put us on the bill. I was still going to go the show of course. I have been a big fan of no wave since I was in high school, though mostly Mars and Sonic Youth, and this was a chance to see an important figure from that period perform.

I got to Spirit right before the show started. Empty Beings was the first band, and they are amazing! The vocalist sounds like Siouxsie Sioux, and had a lot of cool moves, getting right up in the audience. The rest of the band is also really tight! Empty Beings is fast and angry but more post-punk than hardcore. They played a song harshly directed at loser racists. I guess they have been a band for a while, but this was my first time seeing them and hopefully not my last.

The second band to play was Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests. I have seen Valerie perform many times before, even before she moved here from New York. I had never seen her perform with a band until now. It was very, very cool! The strange tempos, violent dynamics, and shifting song structures worked well with the full band lineup, but it was not yr standard band. Jeff Young, who I have also seen before, played violin, and there was another guy on drums (sorry I can't remember yr name!). All three used prepared instruments, rods inserted under strings and various objects on the drums, for the first song. Their set ranged from quiet, textural pieces to high-energy near-operatic numbers. Many of the songs were related to healthcare, either personally or to the world at large, and one, in particular, made me really think about how patterns affect our lives and our thoughts. It was all excellent!

Long-running noise-rockers, Microwaves, went next. They sounded really good! I have seen them a few times before, but I think it's been a while. They are also super tight and have some interesting structures to their songs. I like all of the modulation effects going on and the heavy drums. Somebody told me Microwaves was breaking up after this show. I don't think that's the case, though.

I went home really quickly to grab Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising and Bewitched's The Worst Poetry of 1986-1993. I wanted to see if Bob Bert, who was playing drums in Retrovirus, would sign them, but I couldn't find them anywhere. When I came back, Lydia Lunch was already playing, though I think she had just started. The band was awesome! Along with Bob Bert on drums, the other members included Weasel Walter on guitar and Tim Dahl on bass. It's pretty much a noise rock supergroup - Weasel Walter is in Cellular Chaos and was in the Flying Luttenbachers and Bob Bert was in Sonic Youth. I am not that familiar with Tim Dahl, but he did a good job. Weasel had some killer rock moves, and he lifted the monitor up above his head, blasting the audience with noise on their final song, an encore that they did not leave the stage for - Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop". Lydia had some really interesting banter, proclaiming that Nick Cave stole his sound from her and calling David Thomas a "fat idiot from Ohio" before playing Rocket From the Tombs' "Final Solution". After the show I spoke with Lydia briefly, asked her to sign a press photo of her that I have, and got a photo with her. She was actually really sweet, like a cool and kooky aunt.

So yeah, in conclusion, just go see Lydia Lunch Retrovirus. It was an amazing show and totally worth being super tired the next day for work, which is always a drag anyway. Let's all cast off the trash of societal norms with no real point. Let's all not leave to play our encores and not go softly into the night and all of that good stuff. I'll see ya next time!