Natural born confrontationalist Lydia Lunch and her band Retrovirus brought some much needed sex, grime and rock ‘n’ roll back to the Bowery last night. Playing the packed Bowery Electric to a surprisingly diverse crowd, Lunch owned the place. Her latest musical endeavor’s namesake, Retrovirus, makes a wink-nod reference to being a retrospective, but make no mistake, this isn’t an artist trotting out her back catalog for cheap thrills. Lunch is as relevant as ever, filling a much needed void in rock to an ever growing audience.
Lunch’s latest weaponized musical incarnation includes Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers) on guitar, Algis Kizys (Swans, Foetus) on bass and Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore) on drums. For an hour, the foursome played a fierce and menacing retrospect, pummeling their way through 30-something years of Lydia’s music. They opened the show with Red Alert from Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and continued their blitzkrieg of chaos with I Woke Up Dreaming, 3X3 and The Gospel Singer, slowing down a bit at times with Mechanical Flattery and Burning Skulls. They ended their set with a cover of Alice Cooper’s Black Juju, a ten minute epic about voodoo and being buried alive. And no, they don’t do encores. Don’t even think of asking.
Opening for Retrovirus were the glam rock Youthquake, who Debbie Harry was there to check out. Youthquake recently opened for The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black on Easter Sunday and do a wicked cover of Q Lazzarus’s Goodbye Horses as made popular by Buffalo Bill.
Lydia Lunch and Retrovirus at Bowery Electric [Bowery Boogie]