Despite having seen Big Sexy Noise perform in 2011, I’ll admit that I am not the hugest Lydia Lunch fan and that my knowledge of most of her musical output is limited. I can’t even remember when exactly I first heard her spoken word but I do remember that she pulled absolutely no punches. There’s a rant she does where Kurt Cobain and the fact that Nirvana weren’t the oppressed speaking to the oppressed but middle class males addressing to a mostly middle class male audience. I don’t remember exactly what she said however the shock value was striking and highly likely filled with obscenities.
Road Rant follows Lydia Lunch in France for a week as she promotes her book Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary and plays a number of shows accompanied by horn player Terry Edwards and keyboard player, Joe Budenholzer. Lunch is clearly the least musically talented of the bunch but still clearly the main focus as the combination of words and performance is her strength.
The on-stage performances are intertwined with crude (in both senses of the word) animation by Merrill Aldighieri, a radio station interview and conversations with Lunch whilst travelling. During the radio interview is Lunch is asked her opinion of the success of Courtney Love and Babes in Toyland and admits she has respect for the latter but thinks that the former’s success is largely due to her dead husband’s talent.
It’s clear that Lydia is most at home on stage although she often comes across as disappointed when there is little reaction to her provocations but it’s hardly surprising given that many present don’t even speak the same language. Lydia mostly speaks abrasively about sex and empowering femininity over the brass and keyboard tinkerings although there are a few times where it could almost be considered singing.
The performances are often both confrontational and compelling but it’s hard to shake that feeling that they’d be more so in an environment where English is the native language of both the audience and the speaker…
The extras include Headless Angel, which is Lydia reading a poem in a cemetery. The trailer for the 1988 film The Gun is Loaded and a bonus interview with Lydia Lunch and Joe Budenholzer. Terry Edwards is in the van but is usually reading or just smiling. I would have liked to have heard more from the two token males and their takes of events but unfortunately we don’t even get to hear Terry Edwards speak But, let’s face it, the main reason people will watch this is due to the Lydia Lunch factor which this DVD delivers in spades.
Road Rant – A Week on the Road With Lydia Lunch is available on DVD from MVD Visual.