PERF183-2003-11-22-ENGLAND-LONDON

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FLYER / POSTER

2003-11-22-400px.jpg

INFOS

TRACKLIST

  • 1ST Set :
    • Ku ku ku
    • Little black Angel
    • All pigs must die
    • Rocking horse night
    • Flies have their house
    • Torture by roses
    • Disappear in every way
    • Hullo Angel
    • The honour of silence
    • We said destroy II
    • Smashed to bits
    • Death of the west
    • Come before christ and murder love
    • Omen filled season
    • She said destroy
    • Fall apart
    • Tick tock
    • Till the living flesh is burnt
    • The calling
  • Second set :
    • Leper Lord
    • To drown a rose
    • Hollows of devotion
    • The golden wedding of sorrow
    • Rose clouds of holocaust
    • Symbols of the sun
    • Runes & men
    • Kameradschaft
    • Fields of rape
    • Leopard Flowers
    • The enemy within
    • Giddy giddy carousel
    • But what ends when the symbols shatter
  • ENCORE:
    • Heaven Street

PHOTOS

REVIEWS

C'est dans un climat étrange que nous arrivons à Londres... Par climat étrange, je parle bien sur de la visite d'un certain Georges W. et des nombreuses manifestations anti-Bush/Blair qui auront laissé de nombreuses traces dans le centre, mais aussi des menaces terroristes et d'une certaine coupe du monde... Bref, Londres est en pleine effervescence, et ce malgré la pluie constante durant notre séjour de 4 jours... Passons...

C'est sur le HMS President, sympathique embarcation sur la Tamise que se déroule le concert. Nous arrivons vers 19h30, parmi les premiers, et réussissons à entrer dans le hall d'entrée du bateau, histoire d'éviter la pluie avec une vingtaine d'autres amateurs. Le patron devra ensuite patiemment retenir le reste du public sur la passerelle, pour ne pas saturer ce même hall d'entrée... Surprise! Au bout d'une vingtaine de minutes, Douglas P. apparaît sur le pont du bateau et se fend d'un titre, histoire de donner un peu de courage à ceux qui ont tenu sous la pluie pendant plus d'une demi-heure... Malheureusement pour nous, nous l'entendons trop tard et le temps de sortir du hall, le morceau se termine et Douglas retourne à l'abri...

Nous réussissons finalement, après une longue attente, à pénétrer enfin le bar. Le temps de boire un verre et de sympathiser avec un Lyonnais expatrié à Londres, la salle de concert s'ouvre au public bigarré, de la gogothe latexée en goguette aux cheveux roses, à l'adepte mytho de la pose martiale qui veut montrer son bel uniforme, en passant par quelques punks, deux ou trois vieux skins fatigués, quelques créatures hybrides indéfinissables, et beaucoup de gens tout à fait "normaux"...... Le temps de jeter un oeil aux stands de disques et de merchandising, où s'exposent comme seules nouveautées de bien jolis patches noir et or... Un buffet végétarien est servi au coin opposé de la salle qui se voit littéralement pris d'assaut par le public affamé. Nous qui n'avons pas mangé, nous attendons patiemment dans la queue, discipline oblige, avant de nous retrouver face à un buffet.... vide... 5 minutes après, de nouvelles vivres sont apportées, elles encore prises d'assaut, on finit par en resortir avec 2 bouts de sandwiches et quelques fruits pendant que d'autres s'empiffrent nonchalamment.

Douglas P. repointe enfin le bout de son casque, juste le temps de passer un cd au DJ qui le passe immédiatement. Douglas essaie de parler dans son micro, mais la sono étant coupée, on entendra pas grand chose... Mais on finira très vite par comprendre que les 3 titres qu'on aura entendu sont une pré-version de ce qui devrait être le prochain volet des aventures de Boyd Rice & Friends, intitulé (à priori) "Alarm Agent". Le son est malheureusement trop fort et trop aggressif dans les aigues, ce qui en rend l'écoute assez difficile, mais les titres entendus ne peuvent laisser présager qu'un excellent nouvel album, tout à fait dans la lignée du Boyd Rice & Friends original ("Music, Martinis & Misanthropy") et en tous cas bien meilleur que le dernier opus "Wolf Pact"...

Ian Read monte sur scène et entonne la celèbre et classique "Malediction" ("Now cursed be thy breath...") avant d'introduire le groupe qui monte en scène, sous une salve d'applaudissements. L'entité Death in June est constituée ce soir uniquement du toujours très austère Jonh Murphy aux gling-glings, drelin-drelins et autres choeurs, et évidemment de Douglas Pearce, caché derrière son casque de sniper. C'est d'ailleurs à un Douglas particulièrement locace et en forme que le public aura affaire, plaisantant volontiers avec le public, l'envoyant parfois balader, et surtout expliquant quelques uns des titres qu'ils jouaient (malgré un public particulièrement dissipé sur la fin, voir plus loin).

Et nous voila partis pour une première heure de magie, démarrant avec "Ku Ku Ku", dont la génèse vient d'un rêve que Douglas avait fait à l'époque, où il rêvait (en partie) qu'il chantait le refrain "Ku Ku Ku Baby" en compagnie de Charles Manson... Puis viennent "He's disabled" et "Little black angel", toutes deux des détournement ou plus ou moins des adaptations de chansons du People's Temple Choirs de Jim Jones... "All pigs must die" se retrouve dédié à WSD (quelle surprise!?!) mais est troublé par quelques problèmes d'ordre technique, très certainement un sous-groupe subitement enclenché et mal affecté mais je m'arrête là tout de suite avant de vous parler en charabia technique, juste que le son s'est retrouvé d'un coup très très fort, alors qu'il était déja assez fort (et surtout agressant) auparavant. Le problème se règle très vite, tandis que Douglas continue à chanter la mort des cochons... Tant que j'y suis à parler technique, il faudra remarquer aussi l'inexistance totale d'un jeu de lumière, et l'alternance de spots rouges et verts tous allumés n'est pas forcèment du meilleur effet, ni les décorations de Noël d'ailleurs... enfin...

Après quelques titres, Douglas commence à jouer "Hullo Angel" puis s'interrompt. Reprend au début, s'interrompt encore... Puis déclare qu'il a oublié les accords! Dans l'hilarité générale, Douglas propose de la chanter, brillamment, a cappella... On mettra le trou de mémoire sur le compte de ses 47 ans bien tapés... S'ensuivent classiques sur classiques, tous aussi chargés d'émotion et de profondeur les uns que les autres. De "The Honour of Silence" qui lui avait été inspiré par une expèrience plus physique que spirituelle, à "Smashed to Bits (in the peace of the night", dont le titre provient d'une inscription sur une FLAK près de chez Albin Julius en Autriche, à "She said destroy", premier titre écrit avec David Tibet à Noël 1983, ou "Death of the West", titre prophétique, le dernier écrit avec Tony Wakeford, ou encore "Come before Christ & Murder love", sa toute première chanson écrite il y aura bientôt 30 ans!

Absence de percussions oblige, Douglas demande au public de taper du pied, sur le pont du bateau, le rythme de l'avant dernier morceau de ce premier set, "Until the living flesh is burnt"... Moment à la fois étrange et intense, où le public participe complètement au concert. Le morceau se termine, et entre sur scène un homme au crâne recouvert d'un bandana... PATRICK LEAGAS! Douglas a appelé son vieil ami à venir jouer "The Calling". Patrick se lance alors dans des explications sur l'origine de ce titre, concernant un de ses amis de l'époque, décédé (d'après ce que j'ai compris, mais je vais y venir) sous le régime soviétique dans les années 80... Je n'ai pas pu tout entendre, tout comme une bonne partie du public massé devant la scène, ceci étant très certainement du à l'autre masse de gens au fond de la salle dont les discussions et les rires suffisaient à couvrir la sono. Je ne sais pas si c'est une habitude chez le public anglais et/ou goth de montrer un manque aussi profond de respect envers les artistes qui se produisent sur scène, mais visiblement, pour de nombreuses personnes ce soir-là, le concert de Death in June aura été surtout l'occasion de papoter chiffon et de se montrer en société sous leurs plus beaux atours, malgré le fait que DIJ soit un groupe de qualité aussi rare en concert... Si vous faites partie de ces personnes, je vous vomis.

C'est donc un Patrick Leagas visiblement ému qui entonne donc "The Calling", après qu'on lui aie apporté un papier avec le texte dessus, presque 20 après l'avoir écrit... "The Calling" se termine, et le premier set avec lui. Douglas quitte la scène, nous invitant à nous ruer sur le buffet végétarien qui a été ravitaillé entre temps. Pas la peine de s'en approcher, celui-ci est à nouveau pillé aussi rapidement que la première fois... J'ai faim, une bière contenant autant de protéines qu'un bon steack, je préfère une pinte au petits restes de sandwiches abandonné sur la table, tandis que derrière ses platines un improbable gentleman mixe de la musique de cirque avec de la techno hardcore, avant de nosu remettre un bout de ce futur "Alarm Agent" dont je parlais plus haut... Après ce petit interlude d'une demi-heure, Douglas et Jonh remontent enfin sur scène pour reprendre un second set tout aussi bon que le premier, avec quelques titres qui se font trop rares dans les derniers concerts du groupe comme "To Drown a Rose"... Arrive la fin du concert, "Heaven Street" pour l'habituel rappel, avant que le groupe ne s'éclipse définitivement pour ce soir. L'heure aussi pour nous de partir, préférant prendre le dernier métro et zapper la fin de la soirée plutôt que de rester et avoir à prendre un bus de nuit...

This was a weird experience going to a gig on a boat!...and being one of the worst days of the year for weather in London. Maybe if it flooded we'd be in the right place! Despite the gig being quite low key it was one of the biggest turn-outs I've seen for a Death In June gig. There was to my delight a vegetarian buffet included in the ticket price which I made a point of visiting as soon as the food was laid out, very nice it was too!

The stage was a step basically so I made sure I got to the front or I'd be looking at backcombed goth hair, bald patches or the back of some kind of German World War 2 hat All night! Doug came on in his usual military clothes although no mask, instead it was a helmet with a veil hanging down to hide his face (to which later he lifted announcing: "Here's the horrid truth."). He was joined by John Murphy on percussion playing lots of little weird instruments like chimes etc, but - unusual for Death In June - no drums were present. Doug was sat on a stall with a 12-string acoustic guitar. He announced things are going be a little different as he introduced each song and told a story about them. Some idiot told him to get on with it but Doug was having none of it and told the heckler to shut up and he was here to listen! He then proceeded to play 'Ku Ku Ku'.

He mentioned his collaborators on numerous occasions such as David Tibet and old band mate Tony Wakeford in his stories about song writing. He mentioned Tony when 'Death Of The West' was introduced as it was the last song they wrote together. Many songs were played spanning the history of Death in June and to my delight a good few songs from "Nada", including 'Leper Lord', 'She Said Destroy', 'Honour Of Silence' and much to everyone's surprise, 'Calling', where Doug was joined onstage by former band mate Patrick Leagas, who sang it beautifully despite being a little nervous. Patrick introduced the song by saying it was about an Afghan soldier he knew who fought and died against the Russians. There was a version of 'Till The Living Flesh is Burned' which Doug got everyone to stamp their feet to to simulate the heavy drum sound. For the first chorus the words to the earlier incarnation of the song 'Night Of the Long Knives' were sang.

There was a break for a while which meant more buffet food for me! Doug then returned for the second half of the set which included songs such as 'Cathedral Of Tears', 'Fields Of Rape', 'Rose Clouds of Holocaust', and 'Giddy Giddy Carousel'. As each song went on a string seemed to break and Doug then announced he couldn't play anymore songs due to this! Why he didn't bring a spare one was anyone's guess and it was the only flaw in such a perfect night. Despite this there was an encore which turned out to be an acapella version of 'Heaven Street' after attempting to play it on one string! For this there was plenty of audience participation singing "la la la la la la la" in between the vocal parts!

Doug announced after the show that he'd be interested to see what the Internet has to say about the night and he expected to be hung, drawn and quartered! Well certainly not by me although please bring two guitars next time Douglas!

HMS President, an ex-naval vessel that sailed during World War 1 and now moored on the River Thames was undoubtedly an unusual location for Death In June's return to London following Douglas' vague insinuation that they would never play in the capital again. Fortunately this was not the case, and the audience who had gathered from all points of the globe were treated to a very special evening indeed. I guess, this could truly be referred to as DIJ unplugged. Tonight featured John Murphy on a variety of percussive devices from chimes and rattles to shakers while Douglas reminisced and divulged the history and genesis of various tracks from the vast canon of Death In June.

If it wasn't such a godawful miserable evening in terms of weather I wonder what the tourists would have made of the vast number of Death In June fanatics parading down embankment in para-military gear.

A number of excellent sounding acoustic based tracks from Alarm Agents, the forthcoming release from Douglas P. and Boyd Rice opened the evening. Ian Read of Fire & Ice then took to the stage to proclaim a curse. His strong solemn voice delivered 'Benediction', previously recorded on Current 93's seminal Swastikas For Noddy. Following his introduction John Murphy in hooded snow camouflage, and Douglas resplendent in army smock and sniper's veil took to the stage and launched into 'Ku Ku Ku Baby'.

The evening was a complete survey of the Death In June oeuvre, and it clearly demonstrated that the fanaticism Death In June evoke is deserved. Douglas P. did knowingly concede that most of the audience were probably not from the UK. It seems, as December's issue of The Wire testifies, that Death In June remain out-of-step with most tastes in the UK. There is no middle ground. Total commitment or total hatred. Besides, I'm sure Douglas P. wouldn't have it any other way.

The stage was bedecked with a large silver Totenkopf 6 (following an unfortunate detainment in Sweden) and two whip hands, while a table was strewn with more Totenkopfs. From his stool Douglas P. would effortlessly send out another missive - I can't quite recall all the tracks. Douglas requested that the audience accompany his delivery of 'Till The Living Flesh Is Burned' by stomping the beat on the wooden deck of the boat.

Those at the front could clearly witness the muscular frame of Patrick Leagas, a founding member of Death In June bashing the rhythm on the stage floor. Patrick, who now fronts both Six Comm and Mother Destruction, would make a proper appearance later on in the evening. At times Douglas appeared nervous: a fluffed chord sequence for 'Come Before Christ and Murder Love' - "the first song I wrote" - forgotten chords for 'Hullo Angel' and the occassional lyrical improvisation but with little in the way of lighting or in fact distance between audience and performers it was unsurprising that Douglas P. was nervous. A couple of over zealous fans near the front were even freaking Douglas out, as their voices almost became audible above the group. Even the vegetarian buffet didn't appear too out of place. Nice idea, other venues may care to pick upon.

Patrick Leagas who was called-up with 2 days notice, appeared nervous but delivered an impassioned introduction to 'The Calling' indicating that it related to a close friend, an Afghan refugee, who had returned to die in battle. I may have picked this up incorrectly but I'm sure Patrick indicated that he too had fought in Afghanistan. It was a beautiful eulogy and in many ways helped explain in part the motives behind Death In June. This was the first airing of 'The Calling' in 20 years, and it was tremendous to witness, and Patrick didn't even need the hastily scribbled lyric sheet. Other special moments this evening included a Douglas lead version of 'To Drown A Rose' acoustic versions of 'Smashed To Bits (In the Peace of the Night)' and 'Kameradschaft' also sounded great free from Albin's military orchestrations. Now, wouldn't a mini-release of acoustic based versions of Operation Hummingbird and Operation Control tracks make a fine minor release?

It was particularly illuminating to hear Douglas speak so candidly about the lyrics to his songs, and though he was scathing about World Serpent and their directors - there was a schism that lead to legal action and an out-of-court settlement in favour of Douglas P. -, he spoke with a fondness for his former songwriting partner and friend, David Tibet. Douglas explained how 'She Said Destroy' was the first song he ever wrote developed from reams of words Tibet had provided. How 'Rocking Horse Night' was based on a childhood nightmare Tibet experienced in Asia, how 'Rose Clouds of Holocaust' was Douglas's articulation of Tibet's Auschwitz by the sea quip, in reference to the geothermal healing waters of Iceland's blue lagoon. I must amidst that I was quite amused to discover that both 'We Honour the Silence' ("He stood like Jesus" - indeed) and 'Hollows of Devotion' were based on sexual experiences.

A number of my favourite tracks were taken from The Wall of Sacrifice including 'Giddy Giddy Carousel' and 'Fall Apart'. Douglas even revealed how Alan Trench had suggested to Douglas that he may wish to do something with He's Able an album from Jim Jones ill-fated People's Temple Choir that World Serpent were looking to reissue. Dismissing it as one of the worst records ever Douglas's adapted a number of tracks into 'He's Disabled' and 'Little Black Angel'. Incidentally this was eventually reissued by Grey Matter, so I ask is there a World Serpent connection? The banishment and exorcism continued unabated as 'Tick Tock', 'Flies Has His House' and others all appeared linking in their own way Charles Manson, George Harrison and the piggy metaphor. 'The Golden Wedding of Sorrow' and 'But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?' sounded as stunning and vital as when first heard. 'Symbols of the Sun' was simply sublime.

The strength and beauty of these songs were revealed through simple melodies, combined with intricate percussion into the finest dark folk, some of which are over two decades old. The fanaticism they ignite is testament to the power of Death In June, and the talent of Douglas P. A total lack of guitar strings meant that the second half, again introduced by Ian Read, was kept slightly short, but encores were demanded and after a futile attempt at a guitar based version of 'Heaven Street' Douglas resigned himself to a bizarre acapella version, accompanied by the audience for the instrumental parts.

The evening was a true one-off, representing a stripping down, a sense of nakedness, an unmasking, if you will. Douglas P. came across as a genuinely nice bloke with an enviable collection of songs under his runic inscribed belt. Oh, you could moan the absence of Boyd Rice or the lack of kettle drums or whatever but in the final analysis this was a beautiful evening of wine and fine men.