Lydia Lunch & Marc Hurtado plays Suicide and Alan Vega – The Caves, Edinburgh 21/11/22

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Suicide, the New York duo of Alan Vega and Martin Rev, provoke intense emotions within the listener, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em, nothing in-between.

Rev produced electronic music using a synthesiser and primitive drum machine for Vega to perform his sometimes terrifying vocals which ranged from guttural grunts to rockabilly Elvis.

Both the music they performed and the way they performed it was somewhat confrontational and they were billing themselves as “punk music” in the early 1970’s. It is not unkind to say that they were not widely popular and tended to alienate audiences wherever they played.

It must also be said though, that they were so far ahead of their time it was untrue. The band’s first album Suicide (1977) received many poor reviews upon release but is now regarded as a classic containing such songs as Ghost Rider, Rocket U.S.A., Cheree and the truly frightening intensity of Frankie Teardrop.

Tonight, at the Caves in Edinburgh Lydia Lunch (vocals) and Marc Hurtado (music) come together to play the songs of Suicide and Alan Vega.

This was not a gig for the lover of sweet and tender music, this was brutal and gut-wrenching stuff.

At 9.20pm Hurtado strolls onto the stage looking very cool in his “Suicide or Murder” t-shirt and aviator shades. He loads up his machines, presses a button and the sonic assault on our ears begins.

Lunch appears dressed entirely in black and is warmly greeted by the crowd. The audience is not large tonight but is very appreciative and are obviously all die hard suicide fans. She sets out the lyrics on a lectern, grasps the two microphones that have been set out for her and begins to sing.

There is no between song banter, only the odd stoppage between songs for Lunch to refresh herself from her bottle of wine. Both Hurtado and Lunch present imposing figures onstage but it is inevitably Lydia Lunch who draws most of the crowd’s attention with her mesmerising vocal performance.

That is not to distract from Hurtado who has done a fine job masterminding the aural bombardment as well as providing vocals as well. Behind them both film of Suicide is projected onto a screen throughout the show. Our senses are getting assaulted from all angles. There is definitely no room tonight for any of Suicides more melodic songs such as Dream Baby Dream.

The show culminates with a rendition of Frankie Teardrop that manages beautifully to capture the horror, menace and intensity of the original. Thrilling stuff!

No encore, it’s all over and the audience is left to file out contemplating the sheer awesomeness and power of what they have just seen and wondering when they will ever see anything like it again.

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