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Current 93
By Matt Siegel
Linsel is a L.A.R.P.E.R. Okay, maybe he’s not anymore, but during the brief period in which our paths crossed at university he most certainly was. And not just any L.A.R.P.E.R., but King of the L.A.R.P.E.R.S., a title he surely coveted with all of his sweaty, bearded, 6 ft 350 lb-plus frame. A L.A.R.P.E.R., for those of you unlucky enough to have been born in a country without them, is a Live Action Role PlayER, i.e. someone who suits up in Dungeons and Dragons attire and, armed with dulled yet life-sized medieval weaponry, frolics gaily about in the early morning mist pretending to be an orc. Or a wizard. Or an elf. L.A.R.P.E.R.’s. Until Sunday night I probably hadn’t thought of Linsel or his ilk in a good ten years, until while listening to Current 93 at Club Ikra, I realized I was in a room full of them. Oh, the horror.

Current 93 is the dark brainchild of David Tibet, a former member of seminal 1980’s electronic act Psychic TV and devotee of the notoriously decadent British jackass Aleister Crowley. Like all 14-year-old boys with a penchant for Crowley’s ham-fisted occultism, Tibet loves to talk about the apocalypse, murder and anything else spooky enough to “blow the minds of all those jocks at school.” The problem is, Tibet is 46 and not 14, a fact of which nobody seems to have yet informed him. As such, Tibet (sporting a double-knot ponytail always the rage with guys who live in their mother’s basement) takes himself and his music way too seriously. My friend Kolya put it perfectly when he leaned in mid-set and said with a wry smile: “He lived his childhood in a very dark cellar. A very hard childhood he had.”

To be fair, he and his band are ambitious. At Sunday’s show the accompaniment consisted of a baby-grand piano, harp, accordion, Cello, Violin and acoustic as well as electric guitars. The music was not like anything else that I recently remember, outside of the numerous renaissance fairs dotting the countryside of rural America, that is. Usually however, the bands playing at “Ren-fairs” bother to tune their instruments, something that apparently Current 93 clearly felt to be beneath them.

All that I’ve stated notwithstanding, the audience was mesmerized by their set. Everything from the deliciously androgynous trans-gendered harpist Baby Dee’s whisper-quiet solo number, to Tibet’s frenzied entreaty to the crowd for an answer to the question: “who will deliver me from myself?” was greeted with unshakeable enthusiasm. Maybe I was simply the wrong person in the wrong place. Unable to grasp the simple pleasures of cavorting in a tunic, reading from The Necronomicon in my parent’s backyard, or attempting to organize my followers into a beer-hall putsch, I was simply out of my element. As such, the question for me was not “who will deliver me from myself,” but “who will deliver me from this show?”

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