Sunday, 18 September 2011

He's back

Spencer is playing with Damo Suzuki again, tonight in Newcastle, last night here in Sydney, last weekend in Melbourne. This time round Gareth Liddiard from The Drones joined them onstage to add some noise. I was thinking of writing something about it but then I remembered I am lazy.

Here's something I wrote last time Damo was in town, or maybe it was the time before that. I can't remember because my memory is also lazy.

This weekend wasn’t my first time standing in front of Damo Suzuki. I once started a review of Damo Suzuki with The Holy Soul like this: “Damo Suzuki is committed to the emitting of sound. He spares nothing, throwing his whole self into the grand wordlessness of Damo Suzuki's Network experience. He dances like a one-sided Axl Rose, hands gripping the microphone, long hair hanging in dusty curtains. Suzuki is enigmatic yet humble, as though the music moves involuntarily through his body.”

The time before that I wrote this: “Damo Suzuki, with The Holy Soul walked onto stage set up their equipment and cracked open my ribs one at a time until the noise broke like an ocean. I hear that the Melbourne gig was a quiet affair but in Sydney the rock escaped and raged round inside the big room at The Annandale until even Spencer was dancing on stage. I was standing in the crowd cracked wide open and pulsing like a bird on a wire.”

I thought those paragraphs were quite good really but now that I’ve seen Damo Suzuki one more time I’d like to say also this. Some seemed to be having a religious experience, swaying with transfixed eyes like the whole rest of the world had vanished. Some of them were dancing, throwing shoulders were arms should be, recklessly abandoning the usual structure of ankles before knees. Bass player Sam Worrad was magnificent, a structure for the others to hang off. Suzuki was wild, frenetic, but the band more than went with him. I’ll say this one more time for the dummies, The Holy Soul are Sydney’s best band. Go and see them.

Just in case you don’t already know Damo Suzuki is a legend. He’s been playing music since the 1960’s when he was just wandering around Europe busking. During the 1970’s he was the frontman of Can, an experimental rock band that is largely recognized as one of the first Krautrock bands.

Suzuki and Can have been namechecked by name by billions of bands as an influence. Bands like Suicide, David Bowie, Talking Heads, The Fall, Public Image Ltd., Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Talk Talk Primal Scream have cited Can as an influence. Brian Eno made a short film in tribute to Can, while John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared at the Echo Awards ceremony, at which Can were awarded the most prestigious music award in Germany. The Fall even have a song titled ‘I Am Damo Suzuki’.

It used to be difficult to catch Suzuki live, he’ll blow through town once a year, at best. Happily for us enigmatic record shop owner Chris Sammut of Repressed Records has started his own label. 

Repressed’s first release is Dead Man Gets No 2nd Chance, a live recording of Damo Suzuki with The Holy Soul, Dan Luscombe on kyes (from The Drones) and electronic artist Peter Newman on laptop. Recorded live at The Toff in Town in 2008 this album thankfully captures the live experience. It is good to evidence that I wasn’t dreaming. Nice one Mr Sammut.

Dead Man Gets No 2nd Chance is out now through Repressed Records, also available on itunes.

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