This first live show in ten years from Chris & Cosey, or Carter Tutti, as they have been known for the past decade, was the culmination of years of planning by the duo and Richard D. Clouston, promoter and resident of Cosey Club, a roaming London club night focused on cold wave, EBM and dark pop that has previously hosted live shows from the likes of Nitzer Ebb, Colder and The Neon Judgement. More commonly found in various warehouses and basements around the city, Cosey Club went deluxe for this feverishly awaited appearance from the night's guiding inspirations, choosing the exalted surroundings of London's ICA, a venue with which Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have some previous association, having formed Throbbing Gristle there in 1975.
Factory Floor opened proceedings with a pounding live set. Their recorded work has consistently left me cold, but this set, with live drums, guitar and keys, was a thumping, primal treat. Mere moments after Factory Floor finished, and with a good portion of the crowd still outside gathering their bearings, Carter and Tutti took the stage—Carter to the rear taking care of the electronics, Tutti the band's frontwoman and public face. It always amazes me that despite a personal history and body of work that betrays an enduring fascination with extreme Dadaist performance, dark sexual misadventures, pornography and murder, Cosey Fanni Tutti strongly resembles a deputy headmistress from Dorset, though that's probably down to me underestimating the enduring fascination with extreme Dadaist performance, dark sexual misadventures, pornography and murder felt by the average deputy headmistress from Dorset.
Anyway, following a touching few words from Tutti in tribute to she and Carter's former Throbbing Gristle bandmate, the late Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson, the set growled into motion with the whispered, bone-chilling ballad of death "Dr John (Sleeping Stephen)," a haunting, regally paced start that was both perfect and unrepresentative of what was to come.
Having waited years to see Chris & Cosey play live, I went into this show with a vague fear that the "hits" might be contrarily sacrificed in favour of some kind of exploratory ambient journey or unrecognisable noise assault. This was to be a satisfaction-guaranteed kind of a show, however: 1987's brilliant Exotika LP was played almost in its entirety, with the album's title track and "Vengeance" particular highlights. Add to that "Love Cuts" and "Driving Blind" from Songs of Love & Lust and the wonderful "Deep Velvet," from 1989's Trust LP, and only an outing for the sublime but sadly absent "Walking through Heaven" could have improved matters.
Tutti was animated throughout, contributing bits and pieces of cornet, melodica and guitar as Carter toiled over assorted black boxes in the background. Unfussy projections of abstract colours and shapes along with scenes from the silent surrealist classic Un Chien Andalou topped off the atmosphere, while tacitly acknowledging that if you need lavish visuals to find atmosphere in Chris & Cosey's music then you may need to have a word with yourself.
Finishing with a rather steroidy version of "October Love Song," complete with stomping beats and muscular synths, felt like a slight miscalculation to me, with the original's beauty, ethereality and lightness of touch lost to the bangingness. However, that solitary quibble after 90 otherwise glorious minutes simply highlighted what had preceded it during a memorable evening. Sleazy will need to rise from the dead, play co-headlining sets with Throbbing Gristle and Coil and hand out free ice cream at the end if Cosey Club is ever to top it.