LIVE: Kristin Hersh Electric Trio – The Crescent, York, 24/04/2022 1

LIVE: Kristin Hersh Electric Trio – The Crescent, York, 24/04/2022

This is 57 minutes of inspiration into which the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio squeeze 15 songs and a multitude of moments that are as intense and celebratory as they are filled with darkness. It is a huge maelstrom of noise born of love, laughter, anger, tears and self-determination. It is fast, mostly feral and unquestionably fabulous. That decision to not stay at home on this April Sabbath to watch Songs of Praise was clearly the right one.

Just less than an hour beforehand the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio – Hersh alongside Fred Abong (bass guitar) and Rob Ahler (drums), though the two men do swap roles for the second and final encore, ‘Shark’ – launch into ‘Bug’, the opening track from 50FOOTWAVE’s eponymous EP. Hersh and Abong require little introduction to this song having been two-thirds of that trio since its inception almost two decades back. Kristin Hersh’s raspy voice comes to us drenched in a deluge of her angular guitar fuzz, the song propelled along its incendiary path by a relentless rhythm.

Lest we could possibly forget that now an almost improbable 40 years ago Kristin Hersh had formed Throwing Muses with her stepsister Tanya Donelly, the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio then proceed to rattle off four songs straight off the bat from a band who were one of the major axes upon which the entire American alternative rock scene in the mid-80s and early 90s had spun.


‘Sunray Venus’ is quickly followed by ‘Bywater’, ‘Bo Diddley Bridge’ and ‘Dark Blue’, all taken from Throwing Muses’ 10th and most recent studio album, 2020’s Sun Racket. Like sonic grappling hooks, the impenetrable riffs embed themselves into your brain, with only the fact that ‘Bywater’ is a song about a goldfish there to remind us that beneath the opacity of Hersh’s lyrics and the density of the sound there does lie a certain playfulness.

Kristin Hersh then reminds us that beyond the major part she has played in the music of Throwing Muses and 50FOOTWAVE she has also pursued a prodigious solo career. ‘Mississippi Kite’ affirms Hersh’s unwavering ability to produce songs that fly beyond the conventional radar and highlights a vulnerability that often lies therein.

The relative tenderness of ‘Maria Laguna’ offers some shelter from the magnitude of the storm before the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio power off on a remarkable home run that sees them revisit all three major staging posts of Kristin Hersh’s recording career. ‘Bright Yellow Gun’ and ‘Staring Into The Sun’ are raw apocalyptic balls of fire, hurtling through space as they descend to earth. And the concluding ‘Kay Catherine’ infuses that ferocity with such a gentle sweetness, the hoarse edges of Kristin Hersh’s voice suddenly soften and her steadfast stare into the middle distance appears to dilute. But Kristin Hersh’s spirit of adventure, musical integrity and ability to pull us along in her slipstream all remain firmly intact.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from this show are HERE

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.