Saturday, November 26, 2005

Together at last - Damo Suzuki & The Jimmy Cake

Some time ago I separately discussed Damo Suzuki & The Jimmy Cake. Now I get to discuss them... together! As you know, Damo Suzuki used to sing with Can, but now he wanders the world playing improvised music with random musicians. His preferred modus operandi is apparently to play with random nutters who are meeting him and each other for the first time on stage, but he does occasionally play with actual bands. He did that last time he was in Dublin, playing with E+S=B. And tonight he was playing with The Jimmycake. This was in the Spiegeltent, a tent with mirrors which they had down in Dublin's docks as part of the theatre festival.

This was another of those gigs where you do find yourself thinking "come on man, how improvised is this?". I heard that the Jimmycake had rehearsed some general principles before the show but were still kind of playing it by ear during the concert, and had not discussed musical direction with Mr Damo (or Mr Suzuki) in advance of the concert. Things still sounded fairly under control to me, if not actually producing the kind of music your mother would like. The Jimmycake played a stormer tonight, and DS trimmed his sails accordingly, producing a gestalt evening of pure music. Of particular enjoyment to me was the J-Cake's new duelling keyboards direction, with Jurgen and Paul Smith (sp?) beginning the set with a twin keyboard onslaught that kept tripping in and out of phase with each other, before DS and the rest of the band joined in. And you may recall my commenting on how I reckoned losing so many of the brass instruments would leave the Cake a bit exposed in the wind department. Paradoxically the net effect this time was that I found myself paying far more attention to the slabs of clarinet noise.

It's a funny old rock and roll world. I feel that my inability to talk about music coupled with my poor note-taking has left me unable to do justice to this concert here. It was great to see musicians raising their game for each other, and it is hard not to look back on this as one of the musical highlights of the year.

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