"At Rat Club we arranged PA on lots of tables at all different levels, all tables covered in red cloth. So looked like electrical luxury goods on display in shop window. Jules Baker, a friend, made us a huge TESCO paper shopping bag, which we had standing near thee amps so it looked all out of proportion, like goods for sale, not like a rock PA. We always put all amps and equipment in centre of stage spotlighted. Thee heart of TG. We are placed, Cosey on one side of stage, she always sits down when playing guitar. Me on other side of stage. And Chris and Sleazy in centre stood with backs to audience manipulating machines. At Rat Club we had huge black polythene curtain behind red table sculpture to set it off. Then we always hang a 4 feet diameter wooden TG sign made by Monte Cazazza behind us. Like a big version of our "TG Flash" badges & stickers."
Genesis P-Orridge letter in Anarki & Kaos 3, February 1978
Throbbing Gristle - Rat Club
THE RETURN of Tesco disco - another noise (industrial) in a different supermarket…
Throbbing Gristle began with a mutated 'White Christmas' (Bing Crosby of course); technically doctored/dissolving - the familiar into the unknown. The sonic assault begins. It's hard to describe precisely the elements of the sound, easier the effect… How about the story of the black kids that hung over the railings outside the Hackney Studio, digging the fact that Throbbing Gristle sounded just like the factories all around? (Factoid). No? How about a comparison: the electronic distortion of 'Sister Ray' (where the Velvets cranked everything up and off the board) matched with the throbbing crescendos/all over wash of the most intense acid music?
Sometimes they can be very friendly: tonight was one of their worst nights as they reflected the mood of the audience. Areas of doubt: no visuals - for sure uncompromisingly concentrating you on the music, but hard to attend to without. Little movement from the group. Also their intellectual/artistic rationale is clear and has been explained already, and to be respected: are serious, dedicated and talented. What remains unclear in their assumption of the power focus is the moral base: orientation hard to discover. Could say that doesn't (so strong) a reflection act as a reinforcement/endorsement? Contributing to the horror-show instead of combating it?
I don't know - go and see for youself.
Jon Savage, Sounds, 7 January 1978
We received this recently "in retaliation to the article on Throbbing Gristle in #5." Here it is:-
TG in concert (?) Late '77 TG played the Rat Club, Bedford Court Hotel. After reading lots of good things in Sounds I decided it was time I discovered the truth.
TG have totally astounding support acts (not good, just astounding). Firstly we had a stripper who came on twice, and I'll just say that she had tits like grapes and a fanny like wire wool. After a long wait a guy came on who did a little playlet all by himself, which ended with one of the guys which he portrays walking into a plane's propeller and completed his set(?) with a sax solo. He seemed to be famous and lots of the soul cats and assorted weirdo's welcomed him with open arms. Then they arrived.
After being in this place for about 3 hours at considerable expense I had extremely high hopes for this band. My hopes were not even partially fulfilled. The band were absolute shit. They made various noises with the synthesisers, and guitar, etc. I can't tell you much about their set because after 10mins I fell asleep. However the general feeling was one of boredom. Everyone I spoke to thought that they had been ripped off, and about three-quarters of the audience/mugs left muttering threats and obscenities and promising dire harm to the management and band. The band finally finished but the night wasn't over yet.
A drag artist (a friend of a transvestite in the audience who'd had me worried all night) came on and mimed to a tape of old songs. After he/she left a spokesman for either the band or management came on, and had various obscenities/questions hurled at him, eg. "How can you present this pretentious crap, and try to give it artistic merit?" The truth is you can't.
This review is in retaliation to the TG review in Heat #5.
by S. (Heat 6, February-March 1978)
Axis note: Heat #5 printed a review of 'Second Annual Report'