statement of intent:
Considering the number of "I just endured all 24 hours of Throbbing Gristle!" posts in existence. I've decided to instead take them on one at a time, with the intent of enjoying them, not enduring them, and having some sort of reference guide for myself, and possibly for others.
Although not their first performance (actually their second) it is the first in the Box Set, so it goes first. After reading a lot of reviews about how awful the sound quality, etc. was I was glad that the box starts off on such a strong show. It starts with Genesis thanking the audience and introducing themselves as "music from the death factory" and describing their intent as post-apocalyptic, before moving directly into "Very Friendly" which has always been my favorite TG song. This version is much more rushed, disjointed, and chaotic then the version on "First Annual Report" which works well in the live setting. Although it is still an ode to Ian Bradey and Myra Henry's axe murder, the lyrics are also different from the FAR version. The ending ambient loop is shorter as well, before leading into "We Hate You (little girls)". Like the version appearing on DOA it's short, aggressive, and full of stops and starts. Unlike the "official" version, it lacks the squealing violins, which is disappointing. Next up is the version of "Slug Bait" you can find on "second annual report". It actually sounds much better in the context of this show though, especially because of the bridge/inprov between it and "We Hate You". I really can't understand why they didn't include that in SAR. After Slug Bait comes Dead Ed which has genesis screaming the tittle mostly over what starts off keeping the music of Slug Bait, but gets noisier over time. Sort of the "punkest" song of the set, excepting that it lacks any punk rhymes or rhythms. The music lets up a minute while Genesis talks to the audience about a new shipment they just got in, presuming the audience would like to try it, called zyclon B, a bit like coca cola but harder on your teeth. What follows could be called "zyclon b zombie", but lacks anything in common with that song except for genesis' chanting of the "zyclon b zombie". It winds down with a high pitched whitehouse-esque synth line.
"Dead Ed" and "Very Friendly" can both be found on the Live CDs compiled by Lustmord.
Overall I loved this record, and would have been happier with it as TG's Debut then "2nd Annual Report" Having been listening to TG's more recent material recently, it was a great reminder to the power that they had even in their early stages. Looking at this show it's easy to see where power electronics groups like Whitehouse found their early inspiration, only I feel that there is a lot more variety and layered sound here then on early power electronics records (not as a knock against PE). Genesis' vocals in particular seem particularly unhinged because while he shrieks, wails, screams, and so on it's never in a stylized manner that you would find on a metal record. There are times he could have sounded more polished in his screams, but it's that imperfection that lets you know that you're listening to something genuine and sincere underneath what could be a very campy aesthetic (in terms of "Death Factories" and holocaust references).
I should also note the CD ends in 17 minutes or so of silence. It is stated inside the notes that this is to more accurately reproduce the original box set, which were made of cassettes, which play out to the end of their tape regardless of if there is sound on it or not. While this is of questionable value to the listener, it only re-enforces that the assumptions of commercial viability, which would suggest multiple tracks and a better cut off point, are not the assumptions present in this release. It was created originally as an archive for the band's use, and as it makes its way into public information, it does not lose it's original intent.Throbbing Gristle