MUSiC: Can, Live, Soest, 1970

I wound up watching this this evening, prior to breaking out the ‘new’ Can CD that arrived from Amazon today, namely Live In Stuttgart, 1975.

I watched several other shorter live Can videos as well. It seems more such material is coming online. My last Can-fest, some years ago now, involved a lot of searching online, and didn’t turn up some of these newer finds.

Two particularly groovy videos are Vitamin C, with Damo, and Moonshake, the latter sadly sans Suzuki, but still terrific.

Karussell für die Jugend indeed!

This concert was the longest that I watched. And I’ll confess I skipped through a few segments. I will watch the whole thing at some point. But in truth I just wanted to ‘prep’ myself for listening to the newly arrived Stuttgart recordings.

Track one at Soest is not a promising or auspicious beginning, to be perfectly honest. The guitar and bass DIY d out of tune. And it comes over as a somewhat punky Malcolm Mooney era type leftover.

But, to my delight and astonishment, this was immediately followed by Oh Yeah, which is stupendously groovy. Riding along on a signature Jaki Leibezeit groove, this one both motorik and jazzy simultaneously, the rest of the band provide haunting sonic sculptures, and Dani’s singing brings the Can jamming into a song type focus. Sublime!

Interestingly, the initially baffled audience is gradually won over by the earnest intensity of the performance. Despite Can sporting the togs and hairstyles of their contemporary hipster crew, and, to a degree, the young audience, they play with a fairly self-contained unaffected manner. Only Suzuki, in his semi-shamanic frontman role, getting a bit wilder at times.

Shamanic loonbag Damo Suzuki, in full effect!

Holger Czukay is great to watch. Holding his bass at an unusual slanted angle, and clearly totally into the music. His head-nodding ‘in the zone’ mien perfectly encapsulates, for me, what this group and their music are all about.

At some point in the set the band get the audience clapping, and from that point on the vibe in the room – at least as conveyed visually – has thawed from cold incomprehension to warm admiration, and a good deal of fairly abandoned enjoyment. Some guys are kind of ‘freak-dancing’, and even some of the chicks are digging it.

Towards the end of the set they play another of my Suzuki era faves, Paperhouse. I’m not sure, but I think this might be one of the old Can concerts that’s part of a current wave of live Can reissues. In which case, I look forward to listening to and watching it again. Next time I won’t be pressing fast-forward!

Jaki Leibezeit grooves like a mother!

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