Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
Saturday November 5th 2011
Former Slits guitarist Viv Albertine may only be checking her sound
levels, but her one word opening gambit sets out her store for the
artistic splurge that’s to follow. Within seconds Albertine is relating
how she thinks about sex all the time but doesn’t believe in love;
about how her seventeen-year long marriage broke down after she picked
up her Telecaster guitar for the first time in years; about how her
first band, The Flowers of Romance, formed with Slits drummer Palm
Olive and future Sex Pistol Sid Vicious (on saxophone, no less!) used
to rehearse in Joe Strummer’s squat.
Pedigree? Without Albertine and fellow Slit Ari Up, who passed away in
2010, sisters doing it for themselves from Riot Grrrl to Muscles of Joy
would never have happened.
Slotting in this late-night ‘secret’ show on the back of her mini
Scottish tour and accompanied only by the aforementioned Tele and a
floor-load of FX boxes, Albertine’s brand of candid confessional takes
no prisoners. With her hair up and sporting a fitted red velvet jacket
and shiny shirt purloined from a Broughton Street vintage emporium, she
turns the idea of self-consciously wimpy male troubadourism on its head
with a set that’s both musically and emotionally raw.
With titles like Never Come and Couples Are Creepy, Albertine is laying
herself as bare as she dares in a post break-up purging that’s eerily
provocative and demonstratively empowering. If at times one suspects
the lady doth protest too much, it’s still pretty jaw-dropping.
Having released the Flesh EP on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label,
and with an album forthcoming featuring a different bassist on each
song (Jack Bruce, Jah Wobble and Tina Weymouth have all contributed
thus far), it should be worth getting along early to the forthcoming
dates by The Damned to see how Albertine fares as big-stage support.
Anyone who can finish a set with a song called Confessions of A MILF
should have those kohl-eyed punk boys running very scared indeed.
The List, November 2011