Lydia Lunch – RETROVIRUS

Lydia Lunch – RETROVIRUS- RCC Fringe -Level 5 – Feb 27th 2020

Review by
Gary CLarke

4.5K ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️?

Lydia Lunch’s band Retrovirus have been touring since 2012 performing Lydia’s back catalogue of music and songs from mostly works that hadn’t been toured previously.

The venue of this gig was the infamous Uni Bar overlooking the cloisters of Adelaide University where I first heard Lunch’s “Spooky” from the Queen of Siam album back in 1984.

The intervening 36 years has seen her pump out a plethora of albums, spoken word, theatre, art and photography. And smoked a boatload of cigarettes if her now gravelly husky snarl is any indication! Lydia is showing her age but at almost 61yo she has lost none of her New York chutzpah! The impression of a hard-arse working class New York Grandma comes to mind. There is no messin with this mama!

Retrovirus band comprises good friends Bob Bert (Pussy Galore, Sonic Youth) on drums, Tim Dahl (Child Abuse) on bass and the scathing guitar of Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbachers) providing the sonic dungeon Lydia emerges from.

She and her accomplices then proceeded to drag us willingly into that dark place with driving rhythms, scorching guitar and her haunting violent vocals They were tight and firmly in control.

Retrovirus hit the ground running with ‘Urge To Kill’ and they didn’t let up for 90 minutes save an interlude where Walter sparred with a front row troll until our modern day Medusa turned her fury on the offender, ditching a glass of water then the cup at him while railing abuse until he was unceremoniously exited. “F#*k you f#*king old c#*%t” she shouted after our protagonist. Then, turning back to us she asked menacingly “Any other c#*ts wanna punch in the throat”. No one took her up on the offer.

They belted out a swathe of goth punk dirges and dark energy reeling off iconic tracks like ‘Gospel Boogie’ with Walters ripping guitar solo that so impressed Lydia she got the whole band to repeat it! We were treated to a tribute to Lydia’s “favourite ghost” Rowland S Howard, then searing renditions of ‘Final Solution’, ‘Afraid of Your Company’, ‘Witchin In The Air’, ‘Dead Me Beside You’, ‘Mechanical Flattery’ and much more.

I haven’t listened to Lydia Lunch or Retrovirus for years now but it seems in this case absence makes the art grow fonder. Rumour is this was Retrovirus last time out in this guise so if you haven’t experienced them live you are going to have to settle for recorded versions. But heed this warning: Retrovirus are highly contagious.
Highly Recommended 4.5K

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