Lydia Lunch

Video Hysterie: 1978-2006

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A mixed bag, a magnificent jumble, a patchy mess, a brilliant conundrum. Video Hysteria is all of these things and more, as it travels pell-mell across almost 30 years of cataclysmic lunchtimes. A six song Teenage Jesus performance opens things up, a smooth "Orphans" set to a nightmarish collage of black and white imagery, before we join the band on-stage at Max's for a suitably shattering set, cut exquisitely in period punk dress and demeanor. 8 Eyed Spy is up next, another half dozen songs that see Lydia Lunch beginning to step into her better-known persona. The decade-long gap that follows is disappointing; Lunch's '80s, after all, were a delight to behold. But three performances with Rowland Howard from 1991 and 1993 restate the brilliance of their Shotgun Wedding collaboration and, from thereon, partnerships with Mark Cunningham, Die Haut, Terry Edwards and more flash past with brutal aplomb. The quality of the filming does vary a little between clips, ranging from pro-shot (possibly television) appearances, to the occasional handycam at the back of the room, but all 13 performances (24 songs) are solidly enjoyable, even if the bonus material (catalog and photos) is a let down, and the 5.1 surround sound option is optimistic, to say the least.

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