Can legend Damo Suzuki forges a colossal collaboration with Mugstar to bring killer crescendos and mesmeric streams of subconscious psycho babble to the Kazimier, Getintothis’ Richard Lewis reports on a night of sonic leviathans.
As Can‘s vast influence is detectable in groups as disparate as Happy Mondays and Sonic Youth, the same could almost be said for the groundbreaking German band’s presence in the musical DNA of Liverpool groups.
Emily & the Faves and The Wild Eyes don’t appear to be that closely linked on first listen, yet the clangorous guitar tones of the former and the motorik beats of the latter both draw inspiration from the same source.
Damo Suzuki and Mugstar live at Kazimier
The principal element Mugstar draw from the Cologne group meanwhile is their supreme ability to lock on to a killer groove and wring the absolute maximum out of it.
Tonight’s gig, recorded for a forthcoming live LP sees Mugstar join the ever-expanding list of ‘sound carriers’ who have backed Suzuki over the past two decades, a wide ranging roll call including Animal Collective, Acid Mother’s Temple and The Bees.
Without prior announcement under seizure inducing lights the five-piece rip into their opening salvo, a veritable sonic leviathan, which surges past the twenty minute barrier.
Now in his early sixties not that he looks it, Suzuki’s vocals cut through the swirling guitar interplay.
Mugstar throw everything into the performance, seemingly using ESP to guide themselves around Suzuki’s vocals, the levels of sound and intensity rising and falling with the players barely having to make eye contact.
As opening song reaches one of several crescendos, the rhythm guitar is offered to the front rows of the crowd, one patron gamely taking the axe as people crowd around to watch her join in with the sonic mayhem.
Kaleidoscopic action from Damo Suzuki and Mugstar live at Kazimier
With Mugstar in such barnstorming form, Suzuki serves as a focal point, stood rooted to the spot, eyes closed for the most part, delivering his stream of conscious vocals, largely chanting the words.
Shaped into four distinct pieces, roughly quarter of an hour long, the tempo eases for the second track.
A droning, mesmeric slab of sound, the looped bass lines and faultlessly metronomic beats see bad-trip Hammond organ keys swim in and out of the melee as the track progresses.
Concluding each XL-sized track to huge applause, grinning broadly, half-bowing to the crowd, Suzuki is clearly as delighted to be here as the constantly nodding heads around the venue are.
Canteloupe live at Kazimier supporting Damo Suzuki
Following the keyboard-led progressive swirl of Notts trio Cantaloupe, whose Eno-like pieces float not unpleasantly towards synth pop, Mind Mountain take to the stage.
A spot-on amalgam of Krautrock-like grooves and Sabbath riffing, the band are so fittingly titled, their moniker instantly summoning up images of cerebral prog soundscapes, it seems bizarre there hasn’t been a group called that before.
Mind Mountain supporting Damo Suzuki at the Kazimier
Led by sludgily melodic bass riffs, the influence of Black Sabbath‘s Geezer Butler looms large, the sticksman smashing his way round the kit underpinning the sound with almost jazz-like intricacy.
With the guitar providing sheets of chorded noise alternating with a synth, acting as a counterpoint to the basslines that lead proceedings, the trio hone in on a wealth of strong psych/prog jams.
Pictures by Rachel Brockley.