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Psychic TV Live at SXSW: The Godfather/mother of Industrial Rock Rides Again

Psychic TV
Psychic TV
photo by Wendy Gilmartin

What: Psychic TV

Where: Elysium, Austin TX

When: March 15, 2011

Psychic TV and their outer-planetary transport trip blasted off Tuesday night with the gloriously pandrogynous Genesis P-Orridge back at the helm after years of professed retirement and personal tragedy.

Genesis P-Orridge - the Godfather of Industrial Rock
Genesis P-Orridge - the Godfather of Industrial Rock
photo by Wendy Gilmartin

Psychic TV/Throbbing Gristle fans in general had been waiting in giddy anticipation for this show, which almost didn't happen. Plans had been arranged to bringing the band to town in conjunction with the North American premiere at SXSW this week of Marie Losier's new feature length documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye had been the plan, but funds fell through.

Fortunately, thanks to an online kickstarter campaign, the documentary (which tells the story of the enduringly daring, sometimes raw and exceptionally creative relationship between Genesis and "other half" partner Lady Jaye) and the band were able to make it down to Austin. "I've never been hit on by so many straight boys," P-Orridge mused before easing into what started as a nice-and-easy, trance-inducing meander, but ended up clocking the audience upside the head with an intense, rollicking blow.

 

Psychic TV Thinks Austin is Awesome
Psychic TV Thinks Austin is Awesome
photo by Wendy Gilmartin

Busting out with a remarkably tight, post-punk/pre-goth throttle that culminated in an orgiastic, 30-minute-long version of their epic "Hookah Chalice", it seems the few European shows they've played recently have really greased the rails - leaving no indication that P-Orridge has laid low the last few years. With piercing fingerwork compliments of guitarist David Max Jeff Berner and a solid, soulful foundation in bassist Alice Genese, the band gave P-Orridge ample opportunity to take fierce control of the stage. Sometimes dubbed the "godfather of industrial rock," P-Orridge's expertly honed theatricality taunted the crowd. As s/he flashed spangly-gold chompers, pouted, pumped fists in the air and played (mostly gratuitously) double-bowed electric violin, the crowd was left screaming for an encore that never materialized.

Psychic TV
Psychic TV
photo by Wendy Gilmartin

Veteran Austin acid rockers ST 37 prepped the crowd with their death-metal-guitars-on-helium and heavy stoner rock slop. Around '87, these Austin old heads and their brand of brain bending, technicolor bong-metal put them in the same running with other hill country weirdoes like the Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid. Sure, they're older guys (and gal) now but Joel Crutcher, Lisa Cameron, Bobby Baker and SL Telles churned up a formidable ruckus in anticipation of PTV. They also had a fair amount of humbleness and humor about the whole thing too, reminding the crowd, "Don't eat the brown Cialis."


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