Lydia Lunch and Joseph Keckler
The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA
Nov. 6, 2022
How did it take all these years for me to finally see Lydia
Having now done so, I’m pissed!! I’m pissed I missed
some brilliant, moving performances over the years! But Lydia
reminded me there are more important things to be pissed off about.
Lydia’s angry. She’s a whirlwind of psychic energy
spewing forth words, that come tumbling out, one over the other,
in her smoker’s rasp ... fingers fliting and all attitude.
She’s seen it, done it, been through it and has something
to say about it. She doesn’t give a fuck what you think
… but you better sit there and listen!!
If you’ve been living life in your happy little first-world
cloud she’s gonna wake you up and force you to remember
all the shit that’s out there fucking up the world. In fact
she grabs you by the brain and the heart and shoves your face
in it … child abuse, patriarchal society, gritty cities,
friends ruined by drugs, whores, war, politics …her post
traumatic stress syndrome!!! … and music …glam, punk,
Lydia does spoken word like a mad preacher and you come out
the other end transformed and enlightened …. you catch your
breath like after an orgasm and think “Thank you Lydia!”
there was the other performer …
there was Joseph Keckler.
As the second mic stand slowly drooped, he stood there watching the decent
with a smile, I knew then there was a bit of an imp in this guy.
Classically trained in opera with an extensive vocal range from
bass baritone to high pitched scary movie sounds, his pieces are
humorous with contemporary themes, albeit bizarre ones, absurd
ones. He sites Screaming Jay Hawkins whom he called The King of
the Ridiculous, as one of his heroes.
It will never cease to amaze me how, for every artist in the
world, there is a personal vision, Keckler’s is very personal,
and most certainly unique.
Keckler’s first offering was “Ghost Sex.”
He starts out quietly telling a story about being an artist in
residence in a building where he heard footsteps in the floor
above him each night. He thought it was an old poet who was also
in residence, but he is told he is alone in the building. He says,
“My relationship with the noise changed when I heard that.”
he then breaks into a booming operatic performance, in German,
exclaiming “I had sex with a ghost!!” and continues
to describe his experience and how life changing it was. How do
I know this? He had the subtitles in his video accompaniment.
He firmly states “All the living should bed the dead”
sung in German of course.
Joseph performed number of other selections, including “Goth
Song” and “Strangers From the Internet” all
accompanied by videos with subtitles.
Each offering told a story … and absurd story.
I am not surprised he has one called “Shroom Trip.”
In “Goth Song” he’s caught sleeping on the
job but all he wants to do is look at vinyl clothes online. He
proclaims “I must have this vinyl!!” and finds himself
wandering St. Marks Place and ends up in Search & Destroy.
He spends all his money of Goth clothes and wanders the city becoming
more and more transformed into a teenage Goth.
“I had no money….. but I had the look.”
He ended his set playing piano and singing Hawkins’ “I
Put a Spell On You” in his very own way, of course.
Throughout, he had the audience spellbound and smiling.
Joseph Keckler is an anomaly. A captivating,
intelligent, enormously talented anomaly.
One you should not miss if you are lucky enough to have the
opportunity to be entertained by him.