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Damo Suzuki live in Leeds, May 4th 2005

Posted: May 6th, 2005, by Jon Goodwin

Hi all. I know Chris wrote extensively about Damo about this time last year but I thought I’d break my main blog duck by telling you all about his gig the other night.

It was ace. Damo’s ‘sound carriers’ for this gig were Joe and Neil (Polaris / Bilge Pump) on guitar and drums respectively , Stu (Leeds DIY PA guru) on bass, a keyboard player who was having the time of his life, and a percussionist with a snare drum, cymbal and a box of tricks including a whistle, a football rattle and a baking tray full of pennies. He was my favourite.

For those who haven’t seen Damo recently, he is about 5 foot tall, with long grey hair and a goateee beard. He was wearing a gojonnygogogogo tshirt at least three sizes too big for him. At the start of every ‘song’ he’d point at the person he wanted to start it. They’d play a bit, then the others joined in and Damo sung. He’s got two voices, one is his Can voice and the other is this Tom Waits-like gruff howling. Sometimes he’d swap between these voices during the song, so it was a bit like watching a 60 year old Japanese schizophrenic.

Good job I like 60-year old Japanese Schizophrenics.

I think the band perhaps were a bit nervous at first. Not that it wasn’t ace, it’s more that they started out sounding a bit like Can, but then slowly gained the confidence to do things their way. By the end of the set they were in full flow, doing free jazz bits, spacey bits, krauty bits etc etc.

After every ten minute song (they probably did about 8 pieces, they were on stage well over an hour) Damo would applaud each member of the band in turn, applaud the audience and then point at the guy he wanted to start the next song.

When they finished there was the longest, loudest call for an encore I’d ever heard, so they came back on to do two more pieces… I think the band may not have been sure whether people were enjoying it up to this point because during the encore they were having the time of their lives, laughing, playing with / off each other, the keyboardist looked like he was high, the drummers were having call-and-response battles on the drums. The second to last song was awesome – faster and groovier than everything that had gone before it, and the previously reverential crowd indulged in a bit of dancing down the front.

When they finally, finally finished, Damo announced he was ‘going to bed’, but then shook hands with most of the audience and then sat down signing autographs etc.

Feh, you can call it self-indulgent or arty or whatever (couldn’t find anybody to come with me!) but I thought it was ace, and it was never noodly or muso-ey (apologies to any musos or noodlists reading this).

Damo! Damo! Come back on, and do another song!

Jon Goodwin

Jon is a Leeds-based diskant agent, who aided his passing of our severely rigorous interview process by, essentially, having good taste and bigging up his time at 2004's All Tomorrow's Parties. Beyond this, we know little about him, but imagine that it's pretty likely that he has one of those friendly-sounding Leeds accents, and that he is good friends with David Gedge, Cud and Hood. And possibly my sister, who lives in Leeds right now.

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