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Black Lung, Communion/Exedor, June 6, 1998
by melpomene w.
I got fucked by David Thrussell.
Well, not exactly. But his Black Lung performance at Communion/Exedor in early June was as good as sex. Left me breathless and panting and wanting more.
My love for Snog is not unfamiliar to visitors to this page. Sarcastic, cynical, apprehensive and smart, how could I not love the Australian electronic act fronted by meta-genius and all-around cute guy David Thrussell? But Thrussell writes electronic music with two other bands: Soma, a mellow insidious ambient act, and Black Lung, whose instrumental compositions sit somewhere between Snog and Soma. Dark and beaty only begin to describe where Black Lung is at--think the paranoia of Thomas Pynchon with music that evokes Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk and RosemarieÕs Baby. I love ThrussellÕs music so much that it often becomes the soundtrack to my dreams. In one particularly memorable night excursion, I boarded a space ship where the aliens were listening to Black LungÕs The Depopulation Bomb. And why not? I can see the aliens using Black Lung as a way of interpreting the suspicious, uneasy human psyche.
But, bottom line was, I held out little hope of ever seeing David Thrussell perform live in any incarnation. The guyÕs Australian! And from the interviews I read with him, he didnÕt seem like the kind of guy who liked to leave the house, let alone leave the country... So imagine my surprise when I read the posting from DJ Bent on NYC goth-l that David Thrussell would indeed be performing this June as Black Lung. I figured this would be one bright spot in an otherwise dreary hateful spring.
So, as usual, thereÕs a whole bunch of stupid personal shit for you to wade through before you get to the performance. Firstly, my biggest anxiety was that the ex would be there. He was a big fan of ThrussellÕs music at one point, altho I donÕt think he really understood what David was trying to say. You have to understand, this is a guy who didnÕt comprehend the comedy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He thinks the little greys are good guys trying to advance humanity, although for some reason he discounts reports of alien abduction. Go figure. How you gonna advance humanity without contact? This is a guy who never read any Philip K. Dick, or any fiction. This is a guy who thought Rock and Roll High School Forever was better than the original. Need I go on? But the only reason I was anxious about it is because he refuses to say hello to me, and I hate that 5th grade baby shit. I was good enough to fuck for two years, but not good enough to say hello to now? So, because of him I didnÕt get tickets to the Front 242 show. I know Front 242 is one of his all-time faves, I know heÕd act like some stuck-up obnoxious cretin, even tho he met Jean-Luc because of me and my pitiful little zine Cyberia. But enough about 242, this is about Black Lung, right? The other totally fucked-up thing is that BettyÕs Trash was playing the same night at CBGBs, and I was hoping to be able to catch both shows, but unfortunately BTÕs slot got moved from 10:30 to like midnight so there was no way. And I had plans of molesting James and everything. Damn!
I got to the Pyramid waaaay early because I left the apartment early to catch BT and found out about the schedule change. I wouldÕve hung out with James more outside CBs, but he had to go put on his makeup for the show. So the Pyramid was pretty empty when I got there, but it soon began to fill up with technowankers and cyberweenies all obviously there to see Thrussell. These were definitely not Exedor regulars. They wore glasses! They looked like computer science majors! They were so cute...But clearly very insecure; they spent alot of time making fun of the goths behind their black backs. As if they were much higher on the food chain. You know they woulda gone off for Funki Porcini or DJ Food. I have years of perspective, so I can afford to be magnanimous; weÕre all geeky idiots in our own way, none of us is any cooler than the other. And I mean that on a global scale.
Thrussell finally comes on, standing, crouching really, hunkered down over his stripped down equipment, all that blond curly hair constantly flopping in his face. Red and blue lights strobe and swirl as he begins to play with switches and knobs, a look of intense concentration as he starts to completely fuck with our heads. The songs are only barely recognizable in this form, every so often a sniggle of something you know drifts through, catches... Thrussell plays upon that for a while, beats stop and start, David winces and grimaces if something doesnÕt quite go his way, and then suddenly I begin to catch the wave of the beat. And I get it. That was foreplay, now weÕre fucking, and the beats get harder and the bass gets harder and things are so noisy that you canÕt concentrate those lights strobe in your eyes and your heart starts to pound in the same rhythm which is going faster every 8 or 16 beats or so and it feels good, and David feels it too, heÕs right in there playing it just for me it seems, and right then when those beats are just knocking right through you he suddenly stops. and moves onto another phrase, sound, rhythm. And your breath hitches for a second, you almost gasp, and then you catch your breath and you start again. slow. You relax. For a second. Because you know shortly heÕs gonna pull something, some tricky maneuver thatÕs gonna have you going off all over again.
It seemed as if the lights kept getting dimmer. And the music kept getting louder. I was being engulfed by Black Lung.
At one point this got so intense the beats literally began to knock the breath out of me, and me without my asthma inhaler and I thought I was going to be in real trouble. The goths were hovering in the back with their arms folded. Angry, questioning what the hell was going on, and here I was, smiling, feeling all juicy and ready, swooning.