Saturday, 29 June 2013


Damo Suzuki, 25 June 2013 by Jim Donnelly
In my preview I wrote Damo Suzuki’s gig for Idle Fret at the Heavenly Social was impossible to predict; could be brilliant, could be a disaster. It turned neither but the pendulum definitely swung in favour of the former.

Damo’s “Sound Carriers” for this sold out night were bands Toy and Listing Ships. Neither had met, neither had met former Can vocalist Damo, and nothing was prepared. The bands played simultaneously, facing each other, with Damo in the centre and improvised their way through a solid 75-minute lump of thick, claustrophobic psychedelia with Can-like rhythms and synth squiggles whilst Damo added his vocals. It was difficult to tell in which language, or even if it was a known language, maybe it was totally improvised sounds, or the sound of a small yelping dog. What was impressive was how it actually worked and how the musicians instinctively fed off each other. If the promoters hadn’t wrapped it up they’d still be playing now. Special mention to Toy drummer Charlie Salvidge, he appeared to be the one propelling it along with such gusto.   

It wasn’t something I’d particularly want to listen to again, even if I were able, but that’s the whole point; it was about experiencing a unique moment.

It was great to be asked to play a few records early in the evening. I adopted a scatter-gun approach, everything from Blue Note jazz, to garage punk, to heavy funk and Rodney Marsh inspired psychedelic football 45s. Luke Insect was far more organised and came prepared with solely German records, Idle Fret’s Darren Brooker played a great track ("In Your Mind" by Stray) in his set but the star of the show was, of course, Andrew Weatherall whose hour of dub and Krautrock ebbed and flowed like one fluid piece of music. A whole different league to my put-one-record-on-after-another style.

Best of all, and most importantly, the night raised over £1000 for Cancer Research UK and MacMillan Cancer Support. Well done everyone. 

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