As a tribute to Alan Vega, I’m appending my review of a Suicide gig from 1998, originally published in TSP 4th Issue. Illustration by Harley Richardson.
Suicide Live @ The Garage, Friday 6th March 1998
LONG FUCKING OVERDUE The need for aural blastage of my dusty brain that is…four sell out gigs in London of which this was but a one. It’s been 20 years since the first Suicide LP and even that was rumoured to have caught them a little too late. What price this appearance? even given Rev’s creditable solo one-hander at Disobey some two years before. Aye, your sceptical 37 year-old geek reviewer in the audience was all prepared for a dismal showing but instead had his balls rocked off mightily. The duo walked on arm in arm, a sexual ambivalent prelude to the night of pure libido, a cabaret styled Amsterdam sex show that shows up virtually any stupid UK electro ripoff duo for the vapid Chelsea poseurs that they were – Marc Almond and his non-stop erotic cabaret, preening their inadequate two-inch willies, authentic queers Erasure, Depeche Mode, Cabaret Voltaire… Alan Vega and Marty Rev give us the full anal penetration works with their mighty throbbing 18-inch erections. Chain-smoking Vega struts about the stage like a veteran of Pigalle, vibrating with pure charisma, stage presence, and raw attiitude, spitting out four-letter words. Rev unleashes pure electric mayhem of unacceptable decibalage of such utter primitivism that makes the first Suicide LP seem cluttered, overly conceptual. Even if you had no ears, you’da been transfixed by their moves; you could have drunk in their pure STYLE like so much 80 proof vodka. And they were clearly enjoying every minute of it, so what more do you want?
What the fuck it all proves – I don’t even care. Yr London drum’n’bass dance crowd enjoyed every minute, one in five in the audience bopping like yoyos to the extreme volume and red flashing lights like any other night at the Ministry (visually and aurally, it was like being plunged into an open beating heart). Yr specky intellectuals had one thoughtful finger surgically attached to their lower lips hours before the gig and adopted a striking pose at the front row. A knot of die-hard mosh pitters brought throbbing life to the floor for a 96 Tears-Sister Ray encore. All hands on deck are thus equally satisfied, like any able crew members of the US Navy – the only boys who know what’s good when it comes to a bit of nice, clean round-eye.
Weirdly, I’d have been satisfied with the 40-minutes of intense minimal torture that Panasonic inflicted on us earlier in the evening…an experience that provoked much the same reactions as above, only less so. Part of their shtick is that Panasonic don’t project any humanity through body language, facial expressions, or any other organic functions associated with a living being; but the machines speak for them, as does a screen projected with a visual readout of their diabolical de-programmed, real-time machinations. Hateful and infused with an evil, lotus-eating bliss that only the strongest stomachs can handle.
Personally I’m glad my companions dragged me down to the front of the stage so I could miss not a single detail in the eye of the storm, even the perverts licking up flecks of Alan Vega’s sweat from the stage before a stage hand could draw his black safety curtain across; but Paul Smith thoughtfully delivered a benison to that frantic faithful one. This gig willl stay with me for some time, believers. Signing off at 1.05 am … get a good night’s sleep now.