Thursday, February 03, 2011

Convention of Hysteria (1985)

February 1985 and a pretty radical weekend of music at the Albany Empire in Deptford - The Convention of Hysteria with New Cross's own Band of Holy Joy and Test Department joined by Diamanda Galas, Evan Parker and others. Somewhere out there there's a bootleg of this gig, of which Galas has recalled:

'Well, the Convention of Hysteria was me solo one night. Me with Test Dept the next, Evan Parker -who I had played with once in San Diego - and ... I don't really know who else was on it. Probably one or two other Some Bizarre artists. The performance with Test Dept was alright. I can't criticize them if the electronics broke down.

FE: Was that a written piece?
Diamanda: No. I structured a piece for all of us. So we did something and in certain ways it was pretty interesting. It received a very horrified response because the vocal levels were already incinerating the place, then Test Dept came out with these gigantic, I mean GIGANTIC, steel things, with no shirts, sweating and playing these things that were put through processing by my engineer. So it was even more monstrous. Then I was on the top, so it was some sort of weird S&M ritual. It was fun. I liked it and they're good guys.
"Diamanda Galas: Tura Satana Without Cleavage", Interview in Forced Exposure #15 (Summer 1989)
Anyone out there remember this? Doesn't sound like you'd have forgotten it if you were there.


Antony Clayton said...

I was there for the Sunday night. It was interesting to see Evan Parker in this context. It was all pretty intense. I remember that I didn't find Diamanda Galas as scary as I had been expecting. What was scary, however, was being surrounded by a very intimidating group of skinheads in the nearby pub where my friend and I had gone for a 'quiet pint' beforehand.

dave said...

i was there on the sunday as I was a big test dept fan. I remember it as one of the great music events I've been to, along with the Conerto for voice and machinary at the ICA. Galas had three or four microphones taped together which all seemed to go through different effects. I seem to recall the venue had metal in the roof/ceiling area and at least one of test dept was up there hammering away. didn't last all that long as i recall, but all their gigs were incredibly theatrical back then