Big Sexy Noise @ The Ruby Lounge, Manchester – live review

Big Sexy Noise ”“The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
Saturday 30th June 2012

Primitive. Brutal. Confrontational

I know Guy Manchester reviewed (LTW review) Big Sexy Noise only yesterday; but this is Lydia Lunch ”“ one of the most influential artists of the last 30+ years so she deserves a little extra attention, in addition I too had never seen Ms Lunch live and was filled with mixed emotions ”“ excitement, expectation perhaps trepidation ”“ Lunch is loudly preceded by her formidable reputation and with Big Sexy Noise essentially being Gallon Drunk in all but name this all too short run of live dates promised to be something rather special, and according to the No Wave Nostradamus herself “It’s time to stop complaining, quit your crying and embrace the coming End Times. Let’s fucking rock”

And rock is just what Big Sexy Noise do; tonight and once again operating as a three piece (minus Terry Edwards), Mama Lunch resplendent in a shimmering black cocktail dress steps forward from the shadows, stage front a lectern on which rests a bundle of lyrics, to her left James Johnston, at the rear Ian White hunkered behind his kit.

With a barely noticeable nod from White, Johnston began to pummel his guitar; he’s instantly alive, energy coursing through him, he contorts himself over his guitar which relents and offers up searing shards in submission. White commences the precision perfect back drop, a huge solid thumping beat before Lunch accepts the challenge with relish. Her voice is incredibly strong, these days it’s more of a guttural roar than the banshee wail of yore, it fits perfectly with the primitive, even primal twisted blues that Johnston is wrangling from his Fender.

Big Sexy Noise are loud, they are dirty ”“ they have crafted a raw brutal music that is shot ridden with carnal desires “we do a lot of love songs” remarks Lunch “well actually, we do a lot of FUCK songs” as she corrects herself before opening ”ËœYour Love Don’t Pay My Rent’ picking out a couple of male audience members for special ”Ëœcharacter building’ attention ”“ they try to look nonchalant, I bet they were ready to piss their pants..Lunch is clearly up with modern political correctness as she corals a few female audience members and suggests they join her “lesbo coven” ”“ more pissing ensues!
This is rock ”Ëœn’ roll in its purest intense form; guitar, drum and voice ”“ anything else would be superfluous, there are no niceties, it’s not subtle, Lunch’s lyrics are pure confrontation based on a life that has experienced sexual partners of each gender, she has performed sexual acts on film, experimented with every illicit substance and flirted with mental issues ”“ her delivery is full of menace, she literally broods and the crowd love it for those very reasons, in turn Lunch lets down her guard – there is banter with the crowd as she cackles “It’s great to be back…though I can’t remember the last fucking time I was here

Big Sexy Noise create a solid impenetrable wall of black cloying noise; watching the three of them it’s clear they are tight, a formidable unit with no room for ego’s, each constituent as crucial as the other no matter what their individual reputations would have you believe…Big Sexy Noise are possibly the most accurately named band, and are without doubt one of the most vital operating…go see them now.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. A mention must go also to the revitalised Inca Babies, whose scathing, throbbing, acid-burn blues punk was the perfect entree for the raw-red meat-feast that was the Big Sexy Noise. Alluding to the mud-sodden gumbie-rock fest taking place somewhere else, La Lunch wanted to thank us for, “not sponsoring corporate rock”. You heard it here first – gig of the year, Ruby Lounge, Saturday, 30 June.

    • Monty,
      You are quite right – Inca Babies were magnificent, I have posted footage on YouTube, and a review will be posted online, albeit on an alternate site shortly.

  2. No Terry Edwards! Would’ve been even more blinding with him – loved Lydia when she played down here -the two things I remember are the great big footballer-style gobs she would do behind the drumkit and her ankle tattoo which looks like the flesh has peeled off to reveal reptillian scales….

  3. Was a bit gripped off when I saw Inca Babies had been supporting on some of these dates but didn’t play in Bristol. Happen they have an aversion to “the south” – I know they played the Scotland date too.

    I did think they could’ve been done under the trades description act for calling themselves Big Sexy Noise when there was no Terry Edwards.

  4. […] recently twice reviewed (live review) Big Sexy Noise, the band fronted by Lydia Lunch the legendary underground musician, actress, […]


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