Psychic TV | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Psychic TV 

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Thirteen years ago Scotland Yard raided Genesis P-Orridge's home while his longest-running band, Psychic TV, was spending its royalties feeding the poor in Nepal. His print and video archives were declared apocalyptically pornographic, and fearing arrest he exiled himself to the States rather than return to England. After years of relative obscurity, he's assembled a new version of the band to tour in support of the two-disc set Godstar: Thee Director's Cut (Voiceprint), a sound track to an unrealized biopic of late Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, who's fascinated P-Orridge ever since the two met in 1966. Most of these tracks--which include six versions of the title song--first appeared on the 1988 Psychic TV album Allegory and Self or on various "hyperdelic" EPs, and taken in a single dose they create a ghostly afterimage of the moment in rock history when, according to P-Orridge's hypothesis, the music's fundamental energies split, yin-yang style, into a Beach Boys half and a Stones half. On the new material P-Orridge sounds something like Nina Hagen by way of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and his dumb-but-hooky production still merits a listen even if you've never heard of Throbbing Gristle: as a veteran 'shroom eater, he has a knack for finding a mix's sweet spot, foregrounding odd things in perfect ways. "Amazing Vibrations" (a crunchy cover of "Good Vibrations") is just the thing to help folks leery of fairy-floss pop understand the song's genius, and the version of the Stones' "As Tears Go By" is downright bone-chilling. P-Orridge has recently undergone a series of surgeries to help him better resemble his old lady, even getting breast implants (B cup, in case you're wondering), and these attempts to realize his "pandrogynous" ideal give the stage show rubbernecker appeal that even the pierced-and-scarified Temple ov Psychick Youth freak show in the audience won't be able to match. Wolf Eyes open. Friday 11/19, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $18 in advance, $23 at the door.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kevin Henson.

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