Saturday, 2 December 2017


Con Club, Lewes, Fri 24th Nov

This was my third sight of Faust, legendary Krautrock outfit and (in my humble opinion) credible contender for the most important band in the history of everything, ever. 

Hans Joachim Irmler, as seen with the late great Jaki Liebezeit a couple of years ago, is unfortunately absent from the current line-up. But main men Zappi Diermaier and Jean-Herve Peron remain, with Amaury Cambuzat of Ulan Bator, who’s now played with them since 2005. Between three and five additional figures also appear, depending on the track. (One of whom turns out to be Peron’s daughter.)

A typical track – if there was such a thing – sets sail on a mind-melting, metronomic riff, which finds total intensity while still finding the space within itself to move around. Though there’s also a klanking number with… well, numbers intoned over the top in various languages, which reminds you Faust were doing industrial music before there was industrial music. Another starts with caveman chanting and develops with both guitar and bass bowed, creating an unearthly drone. Plus there’s one – though only one – trademark free-noise freakout, with power tools enlisted as instruments.

They play few classic numbers, with the ones they do pick up often radically reworked. A version of ’Mamie Is Blue’ really takes only the chorus chant. While J’ai Mal Aux Dents’, handed to keyboardist Geraldine Swayne to sing, is less agitated and more stripped-down, hyper-compressed funk. Peron claims afterwards they only decided to do it while backstage. My knowledge of post-reformation Faust is woeful, but they would seem to treat more recent numbers the same way. ’C’est… C’est… Complique’ for example is quite a different beast from the CD I bought from the merch stall.

Which seems essential to Faust, who were the arch-antagonists of the formulaic. ’J’ai Mal Au Dents’ simply has to sound stream-of-consciousness, a flurry of nonsense words, just to sound like itself. The band always insisted even the recorded versions which made it to their LPs weren’t definitive, but just snapshots of a work perpetually in progress. Try to put Faust in a box, and they’d shred the thing from inside while simultaneously making music out of it.

As the night goes on, I start to see the double act of Zappi and Peron as a two-faced coin. The upbeat Peron stands upstage, smiling, engaing with the audience, while the silent hulk of Zappi hunches over his drumkit, samples and electronics. Sometimes the elements he introduces seem to take the rest of the band by surprise as much as anyone, as if he’s a disruptive devil clown, the diabolic figure on the other shoulder. Faust were one of the most Dadaist of bands, and like the Dadists it was ever ambiguous whether they wanted to make music or destroy it. In the sleevenotes to ’C’est… C’est… Complique’ Peron writes of their method as “to make intention and hazard match”.

But tonight at least it seems to be Peron’s face flipping upwards. (I’d say the Peronist tendency, but that might be prone to misinterpretation.) It’s more creative than destructive, in fact the experience is ultimately joyous and exhilerating. In a year which took from us all but one of the founder memebrs of Can, it’s heartening to see Faust still firing on all cylinders.

Part of the legendary freak-out ’Krautrock’

The Haunt, Brighton, Sat 25th Nov

If there’s less for me to say about Metz than Faust, that’s partly because I’ve already blogged about the first time I saw them, five years ago. It may be true they also do less than Faust. But then they do what they do so effectively, repeatedly whacking nails straight on the head. Metz are good old-fashioned, no-nonsense noisy punk rock. They make noise, it’s their choice, it’s what they wanna do.

A few extra thoughts since last time…

Their sound is definitely powered by the furious drumming. It’s not in Lightning Bolt territory where they become the lead instrument. But that no-quit drumming heat things up so relentlessly the guitars can’t do much else other than dance on the hot coals.

They rarely go in for instrumental breaks, most songs are short and punchy. But when they do they work so well, with the guitars coming into their own, you wish they’d go into them more often. And this isn’t a bad example, not from Brighton (unusual though that is) but their home turf of Toronto...

Coming soon! Yes, really... more gig-going adventures...

No comments:

Post a Comment