Throbbing Gristle! Now with more boobs!

Post Author: , Karen Aragon

Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter Christopherson, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge played Brooklyn Masonic Temple last Thursday.

As far as I could tell there were no prostitutes hired to mingle with the crowd, and no display of used tampons (as had been the case in their first official show in ‘76), nor was I really expecting that. For them to remain so overtly confrontational for their first American show in 28 years would seem an anachronism for the band and the times. As P-Orridge put it in an interview with NYPress:

Different times require different strategies. There’s enough aggression and depression and concern for the future already so to add to that would be counterproductive. It’s better to present things in the most optimistic and seductive way so that people are still open-minded and open-hearted to the message. There’s so much aggression that people have learned to switch off very quickly.

There is much speculation as to what softened the aggression over the years: whether it be the relatively recent death of P-Orridge’s lover, the aging process, or the addition of boobs. But whatever the reason, it seemed the crowd was indeed “open-hearted” to the message, despite the staff of the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, who insisted on mucking up everyone’s good time by various means. For one thing, they left the lights on as TG performed. I also observed a staffer walking through the crowd harassing fans, making one girl take off a mask she wore, and taking a canned beverage away from another guy. The bright lights were left on, no doubt, to help the BMT staff spot these supposed transgressions.

TG didn’t seem to notice the aggro vibe as they performed familiar songs like “Hamburger Lady”. I even saw P-Orridge smile on several occasions: this is not the nihilistic agitprop TG of ’76, but a sobered one for 2009 whose music was still able to move audiences now just as it did then. The band, and P-Orridge in particular, still emanated a vibrant stage presence even without moving. If the Brooklyn Masonic Temple did one thing right, it was the sound, which was loud: music seeped through our collective bodies causing our internal organs to vibrate, and there were some very fine energetic fans whose vibration manifested in dancing and leaping and putting the rest of us to shame. (I’m talking specifically about the guy in a red shirt with a shaved head. You know who you are.)