Monday, February 09, 2009

The Return of Throbbing Gristle, and the death of Reagan and Thatcherism


WWW--On April 25th, I'll be going to see industrial pioneers, Throbbing Gristle in Chicago. Not everyone knows who they are, but they are essentially the creators of "industrial culture" and beyond. For years-and-years all I've been able to do is read about them and lament that I never got to see them perform live since their last show was in San Francisco in May 1981.

But several years ago, they finally decided to put things from the past aside--all the slights, issues, and arguments--and regrouped, doing a few shows in London, then throughout most of Europe and parts of the rest of the globe.

It's hard to describe the sound of TG, but an old college acquaintance put it best when he wrote, "TG is like a drug...you either like it or you don't." I don't just like TG, I love them. Having seen PTV3 in 2004, this is going to be part of a surprisingly fulfilled wish list.

When TG broke-up in May 1981, the Reagan revolution was in its infancy. England was suffering under the same kind of marketplace fascism, and as they've been a virtual economic satellite of the United States ("51st State"!) since the late-1970s, we've had a shared fate as cultures. Groups like TG have been that much needed antidote to obsolete conventional wisdom and thinking, a genuine part of our Western counterculture.

TG ended where Reaganism began. Now TG begins anew as Reaganism ends, dies. As above, so below, so mote it be. The final show in Chicago will be in a Presbyterian church, it couldn't be more fitting. Welcome back.