Psychic TV
@ Leeds Rios

The band strikes up the music but the small crowd reserves its applause for the arrival of Genesis P Orridge to deliver his vocals. See, Genesis has become a legend by keeping doing what he does for a long long time. First coming to public attention in the late seventies with Throbbing Gristle’s art-noise experiments, simultaneously outraging the press, laying the bedrock of industrial music and creating an often horrible, sometimes fascinating, always individual noise, they were, to quote the Telegraph - “Wreckers Of Civilisation”. Genesis’ main contributions were boring and relentless vocals and the front face of an organisation au fait with contemporary outsider art – William Burroughs, Byron Gysin, etc. In the eighties, with Throbbing Gristle having reached the end of its mission, he formed Psychic TV with its Temple Ov Psychic Youth that was to become the object of much suspicion. Psychic TV adopted the quasi-military uniforms of Throbbing Gristle but moved in the direction of actually playing music. After a couple of albums they caught the whiff of acid and became a ravey acid-house band, albeit one fronted by a ranting little geezer with a horrible voice. Genesis always made a point of the band making the music and he working on the vocals and that’s an honest way to go: he’s not the boss of the sound. And this is the third incarnation of the band. This one, mysteriously features Genesis doing some not-bad singing. In recent years the front man has become an interesting sight, as he and his partner for ten years have been turning into a ‘pangyndrous couple’ – through surgery and hormones, each is adopting secondary sexual characteristics of the other gender. That is to say, Genesis has pointy boobs and puffy lips atop his camouflage leggings-clad knobbly knees. And at 57, to be living your life as a piece of art is pretty cool.

So, previous incarnations having been marred by a horrible voice, it is with some trepidation and fascination that I hear the first song which drifts slowly. “Are you free, are you really really free?” asks Genesis over and over. To which the response is, of course, ‘no’! Things step up a pace with Depraved And Corrupted – a rave throwback. The simplistic I Can See You’re Different To Me occasions a boob flash from Mr Orridge. The songs descends into controlled dischord before the robotic Suck On It. The guitarist grooves and the bassist, low-slung instrument thrumming, interacts in a purely joyful way with the drummer. A slow improvisation builds up, all scratchy to Black Cat and Genesis is beyond embarrassment, doing cat impressions – but maybe that’s the point – could ANYTHING embarrass him?

A tweed-clad business woman is doing ravey moves in front of us and, as I look around, there are a lot of nineties casualties. Genesis smiles, looking genuinely happy, showing a mouthful of metallic teeth – he’s had them all surgically replaced with gold ones. “I know you’re clapping but I’m suspicious of your reasons” is the Genesis of old. The smiles and cracks of the song, however, are a new and playful man – not the hectoring Throbbing Gristle one or the didactic one you see on the Psychic TV DVD. “Welcome, all 22 of you”, he tells the tiny audience (not a well-advertised gig!), “22 is the number of the eternal female, as you know”. We round up with a Syd Barrett cover and a half-hour cover of the Velvet Underground song – Foggy Notion. The beat throws us around and the drum-driven band shows more rave spirit than the Nu Rave glowstick juniors of New Young Pony Club will ever manage.

It’s been a rare and memorable experience to be in the presence of such a driven personality and a surprisingly groovy one to hear a band that knows how to groove.

Ross McGibbon