Retrovirus at the Abbey: the 80s return, or is it No Wave?

The Genitorturers will be coming home to Orlando on Thursday for a concert at The Abbey.

The Genitorturers will be coming home to Orlando on Thursday for a concert at The Abbey.


ORLANDO — Homecomings can be a happy time for the family — the college student arriving home for spring break, the long-lost relatives making a welcome visit.
And so it is, as well, with the Genitorturers.
The industrial metal band, who have proclaimed themselves “The World’s Sexiest Rock Band,” originated in Orlando. Originally called The Festering Genitorturers, they had their first performance at the Ocean Club in Cocoa Beach in June 1986.
Over the years, their form of hardcore punk would be hugely influential on a number of other prominent bands that came afterwards, including Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids.
And now they’re coming back to Orlando, for a concert on Thursday at The Abbey — a homecoming, noted Nicholas Stevens.
“This will be their 30th anniversary party here in Orlando,” noted Stevens, the founder of Modern Music Movement, a commercial music business that stages themed events, including some around music like past tribute shows to David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.
“They started right here in Orlando in June of 1986,” Stevens said. “They were the ones who originally taught Marilyn Manson his schtick.”
The Genitorturers 30th Anniversary Bash concert starts at 9 p.m. Thursday at The Abbey, 100 S. Eola St. in downtown Orlando. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 VIP.
Special guests will include Abbey Death and Retrovirus featuring Lydia Lunch and Bob Bert of Sonic Youth.
The Genitorturers have endured, Stevens said, because they continue to maintain a fiercely loyal and devoted following who love their hardcore authenticity.
“I think their following has two pieces,” he said. “It has an underground thing with the style of music they do, and the alternative lifestyle and S&M and things that go off in that nature.”
Stevens, who is helping to promote the concert, has been involved in tribute performances in the past, ones that mix music with the written word, like a tribute he did in 2013 to William Burroughs at The Venue performing arts center, and one to Jack Kerouac, the Beat writer who once lived in a College Park house, as part a celebration of Kerouac’s birthday on March 12.
Last fall he organized a tribute to seminal 1970s rocker Patti Smith.
The concert at the Abbey, he said, is more of a tribute to the lasting and enduring appeal of the kind of music the Genitorturers created — which has proven to be so highly influential over three decades.
“I’m promoting the shows, and it was a great opportunity,” he said. “I think we’re pretty much going to sell out in Orlando. This is a once in a lifetime thing. Their music has survived 30 years.”
It’s also a great opportunity, he added, to check out the innovation that Lunch and Bert bring to audiences with Retrovirus.
“Lydia Lunch’s career is about to be archived,” Stevens said. “It seems like she’s becoming more popular than ever.”
Retrovirus will go from Orlando to a performance at The Castle in Ybor City on Friday.
“They travel around,” he said. “Her genre is called post-punk, new wave. It’s a very edgy post punk rock. She always does interesting and fifferent things. It’s very raw and edgy. Now they’re calling the genre ‘No Wave.’ It’s not new wave anymore. She covers the range of different things with her artistry, and she’s opening up for the Genitorturers at The Abbey.”
To learn more or to purchase tickets, call 407-704-6103.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..

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