Saturday, June 09, 2007


Venue:Barfly, Glasgow, Friday 8th June 2007

December 1996. It was my birthday and I had time to take off work, which was ironic given that I would barely be back a week before being made redundant. Anyway, decided to take a week and go to London, hit the comic/book/record shops, go to some clubs, and find at least one gig to go. The most obvious option I came up with was to go and see Faust. A band who I had never heard, but I knew the name, had enough of a vague idea of a reputation, so that’s what I did.

My memories of that gig relate more to the spectacle than the sound. The huge, sheet covered object in the middle of the crowd that was revealed to be a wind machine, black bags filled with brown leaves tipped in to it and sent flying around the hall. A cement mixer propped on the front of the stage, for extra bits of metal to be welded on to it, then ground back off again. The singer stripping naked, running through the crowd and starting to paint on a huge white sheet. And all sorts of metal percussion.

Since then I admit I haven’t listened to any Faust either, but when I was in the ticket centre, buying tickets for other gigs, and spotted that they were playing, I decided it would be fun to see them again. This time the set up was a lot more understated, though the bulk of the stage was taken up by the drum kit. From the introductions that were given, it seemed like this performance only included 2 members of Faust, the other 3 performers being from Welsh psychedelic punk bands. The singer/bassist dominated the performance, talking about music, and connections, about not being broken, just disconnected, stray, layering slogans forming esoteric density.

The sound ranged from the wibbling out psychedelic rock to harder industrial rock, hard drums, heavy bass guitar. With the drummer taking up the centre stage, he had a heavy presence, his drum cage rigged out with sheets of metal, in front of that an oil drum, all used to add to the percussive levels. On the left of the stage there was a guy on guitar, and behind him a girl on keyboards. On the right, the singer bassist, and in front of him another girl, playing a twelve string guitar. The two girls adding their voices to the whole sound at various points, though those were often lost to the mass. A couple of times the singer complained about people in the audience talking over the band - at one point the and the girl on the other side of the stage entered the audience, both playing rambling horns, at any point the reached someone that was talking he stopped in front of them and asked if he was disturbing them, before loudly blowing his horn. Towards the end of the performance, the drummer and singer started grinding at the spare metal on the drum cage, started grinding off the oil drum, showering sparks everywhere. Something I missed went off, and the room was suddenly full of choking smoke, great clouds of the stuff, thick with the smell of ground metal.

A more contained performance than the last time I saw them, but this band originally formed in 1971 still play that retro 70’s krautrock/industrial, which can be heard to have influenced bands from Einsturzende Neubauten to Godspeed You Black Emperor, the performance capturing elements of all of that.

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