Current 93 review

Current 93 at the Great American Music Hall

The Current 93 show on Saturday was incredible. It was a very different type of show than the one we saw in 2003. That one was quiet and intimate, while this one was much more energetic and much closer to what I’d want to see from a C93 show. For these performances, the band consisted of David Tibet and six (seven?) others, including Joolie Wood, Simon Finn, Baby Dee, Maja Elliott, and Ben Chasny. The opening bands were Maja Elliott, Six Organs of Admittance, Pantaleimon, and OM.

The first two opening bands were solo acts who also performed as part of Current 93. Maja Elliott was first up, singing and playing piano. It was nice, but didn’t really grab my interest much. Six Organs of Admittance/Ben Chasny was next, doing indie style guitar and singing with occasional loud feedbacking and Jimi Hendrix-style waving his guitar around. It was weird, and also unremarkable. Pantaleimon, Andria Tibet’s project, was up next, and was pretty good, if short. I’d like to hear more of her stuff now; I had heard she was good, but had never actually heard her music before. I would have picked up one of her CDs at the show but, strangely, they weren’t selling any. The final opening band was OM, who was a loud, droning, two-piece bass guitar and drums metal thing. They’re also apparently David Tibet’s current favorite band.

Current 93′s performance was awesome. They played close to two hours, I think, and did a wide range of material, including a number of tracks off the forthcoming Black Ships Ate the Sky. Also performed was material from Soft Black Stars, which dominated the last C93 show I saw, Imperium, Sleep has His House, and a surprising rendition of Oh Coal Black Smith from Swastikas for Noddy. David Tibet wasn’t the subdued character we saw last time, but was much more active, even going down to walk around the floor for one song. I understand that the previous night Tibet had dedicated Sleep has His House to John Balance for the first anniversary of his death, which is coming up in next week. He did not dedicate it to anyone in particular at our show.

I bought two CDs at the show. One, How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon, is a two-disc set recorded live at Current 93′s two shows in Toronto last year. The other is a single track from the not-yet-released Black Ships Ate the Sky. There was a bit of confusion about this CD at the merchandise table, as the text on the cover (and also inside, as it turns out) is entirely in Coptic, which I, needless to say, do not read. Nor did anyone else standing around and so we all thought it was the full album made available early. Much to my dismay, it wasn’t. I don’t really mind paying $10 for it though, because the two-disc CD I bought was also only $10, so it evens out pretty well.

While we were waiting for Current 93 to take the stage we overheard a conversation between some people standing nearby, in which they were talking about how many times they’d seen C93 live. The guy talking said this was his 19th time, and that he was there with someone who had flown in from Portugal for this show, which put him at around 30. Wow.

Once again, I didn’t get any good pictures. I’ve got to get a better camera for this type of thing.