Throbbing Gristle Performances in San Francisco

guest post by mikl-em

Throbbing Gristle and Flipper at Kezar in San Francisco

image via flyerannex

Throbbing Gristle poster, San Francisco 2009

image via Firehouse Kustom Rockart

Before their April 23rd performance at The Regency, the last time that Throbbing Gristle performed in San Francisco was 1981 at Kezar Pavilion. It turns out there’s a fair amount of media that’s survived nearly three decades and made its way to the inter-tubes, so I thought I’d put the 1981 and 2009 evidence side-by-side.

The 1981 poster above features artwork from the legendary Raymond Pettibon whose drawings adorn many classic punk posters and album covers (including most of the releases by Minutemen and Black Flag, whose founder Greg Ginn is Pettibon’s brother). More on Pettibon’s work here.

The poster for the 2009 SF show was created by The Firehouse Kustom Rockart Company, run by the print-making duo of Chuck Sperry & Ron Donovan. They have a blog post showing the process of making the poster and a link to buy it.

The Kezar concert was actually TG’s last gig before breaking up. Audio and video of this show was recorded and released as Mission of Dead Souls. As noted on the poster, SF punk legends Flipper (who are also touring again) opened and you could buy tickets at Aquarius Records (which had been around for 11 years at the time of the show and is still open today).

Below is a photo of Genesis P-Orridge from a Flickr set of the 1981 show and of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge from the 2009 show.

Genesis of Throbbing Gristle, 1981 San Francisco

photo by toyranch

Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle

photo by Mr. Nightshade

Here’s video from the Kezar Pavillion show:

There’s video of the 2009 tour on YouTube, but none from San Francisco. That may be because there will be an official video released at some point.

Here’s video of the group’s soundcheck jam before a 2009 Los Angeles show:

The death of TG gave life to numerous other projects including Psychic TV (and eventually Coil) and Chris and Cosey, groups that, like TG, created some of the most influential industrial and electronic music of all time.

In 2009 Throbbing Gristle reformed to play the Coachella Festival and a small number of shows in the US and Europe. There are a few more European dates in June. There’s limited edition 2009 tour stuff and other Gristle-merch on their site.

On May 23/24 2009, the great bay area college radio station KFJC will hold a Day of Gristle, 24 hours of TG-related music and interviews. From their site….

This will be a continuation of the 2002 Day of Gristle. This version will focus on new material released since 2002, as well as some essential earlier material. We will include some new interviews as well as the existing interviews from 1979 and 2002. We will set up the Gristle Lounge again to screen the TGV collection released in 2008.

Other differences between the 20th and 21st Century: Chris (@chris_carter_) and Cosey (@coseyfannitutti) are both on Twitter, and Chris also has an account on Vimeo.

UPDATE: Xeni Jardin and Richard Metzger recently did a great Boing Boing Video interview with Throbbing Gristle after the Los Angeles show on their reunion tour.


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.