Best live performance.

Posted: 2/19/2007 7:39:35 PM

From: Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Joined: 9/29/2005

In a similar vein to the "Your favorite musician" thread.

What's the best live performance or performances you've ever seen? Doesn't have to include Theremin.

My top five would be:
Cop Shoot Cop at the Heidleberg, Ann Arbor 1990. (The first time I was made aware that guitarists weren't any more necessary than cymbals are on a drum kit if you know how to rock).
Mr. Bungle at St. Andrews Hall, Detroit 1991. (This was on the first tour for the first album. They played tight! They also played some very obscure song from a K-tel record I had when I was a kid called On and On, a slow dirge version of the Stroke by Billy Squire, and I Don't Need Society by DRI.)
Shellac at The Olde Miami, Detroit 1994. (These guys haven't topped this show yet, although their performance at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary block party came close.)
US Maple at The Blind Pig Ann Arbor 2000 (I saw them at The Green Room much earlier in 1996, but was expecting something completly different from what I saw and hated them. Boy was I wrong.)
Tortoise at The Magic Stick, Detroit 2001. (Dualing vibes! God I love live vibrophones.)
Posted: 2/19/2007 8:46:39 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Sorry if you've heard this before. I have cut 'n' pasted it from something I posted to another forum. Er, several actually. It just keeps on being the response I want to make. Most recently as "worst live show experience" and now as "best live performance." Both are true. :-)

January '79 - I was seventeen.

Throbbing Gristle were playing the Centro Iberico, an abandoned 1950's school and an anarchist haunt in a part of London where tourists don't go.

On the way in the back of my hand was stamped. Not sure what the design was. It was green. The wall was decorated with a stark image of a suicide by hanging, amongst other things.

The place stank of hash and urine and burnt metal. The room was small and dark. I was right at the front. The band largely ignored the audience. The sound was hard to ignore. It was loud. Very loud.

That was how the Wall of Sound started. Very loud. Slowly the volume cranked up. After ten minutes of inexorable increase the sound was beyond loud - it was a physical presence - moving through it was like walking through treacle. The speakers bounced around the stage. And still the band found more ways to layer sound over sound and ramp it up further.

In the background a digital clock counted down towards zero.

At zero all the sound stopped instantaneously. It was that vertiginous moment when the bus rocking on the cliff edge creaks ominously and no-one moves.

Not quite all the sound. As our ears cleared a portable radio was still playing. Abba. Dancing Queen.

The other moment I remember was when the band played their short film - After Cease To Exist - named for the Beach Boys song written by Charles Manson.

The film was a very graphic, very realistic castration performed with kitchen scissors. I left half way through. Not that I remember leaving, but my friends tell me I turned an interesting shade of green and the crowd parted biblically before me.

What I remember was sitting on the floor outside, breathing the cold, fresh air and looking at the green entry stamp on my hand.

Now I knew what it was. Severed testicles.
Posted: 2/19/2007 8:58:45 PM

From: Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Joined: 9/29/2005

Simply amazing. I didn't even discover Throbbing Gristle until I was living on my own. This was in 1992. I've met two other people who've seen them live and neither of them could describe the experience quite as well as you have.

The closest I've come to being in the presence of that much sound was when I saw Jucifer a few years back at the Elbow Room here in Ypsi. They are a husband/wife drums/guitar duo. She has an amp wrangler for a reason. I've never seen so many amps of varying flavors on one stage in a small bar ever. She struck the first chord and my skeleton shift inside my body by about a centimeter. I felt the sound more than heard it. The first time they played there they literally brought the ceiling down. Fortunately no one was hurt.
Posted: 2/20/2007 9:04:27 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Any of the Kiki and Herb shows would probably top my list especially "There's a Stranger in the Manger", and "Kiki and Herb Will Die For You, Live at Carnegie Hall".

Second would be the concert I was turner on for my teacher when while performing the List prelude and fugue on b-a-c-h the piston action jammed; we had to go manual with the registration changes. It turned out to be an exceptional concert and I thought I saw sparks in the air while he was playing but my timing on the pages got all off with the additional stop pulls. It was tense and scared me so much we didn't speak for several days.
Posted: 2/21/2007 9:45:51 PM

From: Toledo, Ohio United States of America

Joined: 2/22/2006

Are there any Throbbing Gristle websites that have .mpg?
Ones that 'those in the know' think justly represent their work?
Posted: 2/21/2007 9:57:30 PM

From: Toledo, Ohio United States of America

Joined: 2/22/2006

The best live performance I attended was a Peter Gabriel concert in 1985 or 1986. He had a great band and he was in the full stride of his solo career.
Peter and company started with his older songs and thru an hour and a half brought the audience to a frenzy with his last song before two outstanding curtain calls: BIKO! The audience in mass, sang the refrain, (with occasional cheers), 'Biko, eee-ooh, eee-aaah, Biko!' until the sudience was worn away!
Posted: 2/21/2007 11:15:01 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

It's hard to say which it was, but it was the same band. My first contender was Eddie From Ohio, live at the Somerville MA Theater ( (a wonderful old vaudeville house in sight of where I was living at the time), April 21, 2001... it was just one of those magical nights when everything goes perfect and there's that amazing bond between audience and band, like they could read our minds and knew just the right song to play to take us along the journey toward being filled with joy as we finally left.

About a month or two later, I believe it was, they played at a church in beautiful Marblehead, MA. It was a warm night in late spring or early summer and the church was *packed*. The porch outside the church's windows was *packed*. The trees outside the windows on the other side of the church were *packed*. My friend and I were in the second pew, six feet from the band - any closer and we'd have had to look up their noses the entire time. It was *incredibly* intimate, and one of the (two) lead singers was about to go on maternity leave and was very pregnant, so while her voice wasn't quite 100% she really put passion into her music, and it was incredible. I don't think they'll ever be able to play a venue that small again, but it was a real privilege to be there.
Posted: 2/22/2007 9:05:43 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

I have seen so many great bands over the years that it would be very hard to choose one of them as my favorite.

For theatrics, Alice Cooper in the Florida Theater was definitely a contender as was Styx during the Mr. Roboto tour.

Gary Numan kicked butt at Metropolis mainly because he had the cojones to play "Cars" first and tell everyone who only came for the song that they could leave now.

Pigface was great as was Foetus....

OK, there are just too many of them so, being the ego-centric jerk that I am sometimes, I am going to do it a little differently.

My favorite live performance was a local band I played with - Crack Rock Asteroids.

We did a set at an art opening and we all had delays and loops going.

Toward the end of the show we cranked them up and started a swirling mass of sound that grew for a while until we decided it was done.

Then we all walked off the stage, leaving the loops going and a guiter feeding back which had the snare drum rattling in sympathy.

Most of the band went across the street to Wendy's and ordered hamburgers.

Some of us stayed behing to turn it all off after a minute or so and it was really fun to see the audience members's reactions to the continuing noise and lack of performers.

Some of them milled about. Some just stayed there waiting for something, an end that might not come any time soon.

That was th highlight of the evening for me (and hopefully a few others....)
Posted: 2/22/2007 12:22:17 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005


If you want to hear some Throbbing Gristle, the iTunes music store has 30 second clips of a whole bunch of stuff. That's probably your best bet.

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