The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
Former Can singer [“Tago Mago”, “Future Days”, “Ege Bamyasi”], now touring his improvisational project around a few European venues. This was a smallish room above a pub in Queens Road, packed with long hairs, short hairs and no hairs, trench coats, leather jackets and anoraks.
Damo is tiny, 66 and possessed of a still powerful voice which suits his freeform no-particular-language vocals. The band were a younger bunch – synth, violin, cello, drums, percussion. Reminded me of early experimental Velvets. A whiny, shaky, scratchy opening reminiscent of Bowie’s “Station To Station” build-up grew into what I thought was going to be Can’s “Paperhouse” but developed into one meandering, mesmerising continuous structured extemporization which powered, then lilted, then powered again into a formidable miasma.
I was alternately intrigued and infuriated. Some passages thrilled, some hurt. From about ten minutes in – the point at which I realised this was probably going to be one long piece – I veered between begging for it all to stop and hoping it would never end. The whole thing lasted around fifty minutes and involved amazing stamina from all the musicians. The denouement was ecstatic as Damo held up his hands and began clapping while the drums and drones carried on behind him. “Thank you,” he said, acknowledging the audience as a key part of his performance. “Music is an obligation.”
A strange experience, but one I’m glad I had.
It made me think..
This was more art than music.