E’en Digbeth hath its peculiar laws
This year so far has been Krautrock mad for me. Cluster played, and conversations around that led to me borrowing a bag o’LPs. Amongst them was Faust’s first album – a beautiful item, on clear vinyl and with a see-through sleeve and lyric sheet. It was almost enough to make you agree when a seriousmusicfan tosspot type tells you that they’re “a sucker for packaging” and pretends that this is unusual amongst seriousmusicfan tosspot types, as they always always (always) do. Although… not quite enough. Obviously.
I liked the music on it, too – very silly indeed but that is no bad thing. I’m not familiar with anything else they’ve done, though, and didn’t get around to hearing any before this here gig (that’s what I’m leading to, don’t worry), but I definitely wanted to see them.
To The Rainbow Warehouse (with its crap-arseholed buggery-bleeder bottles-only bar. The swine) in Digbeth on the tenth of May, then, for what would hopefully be some top-class Choiman action. I was surprised by the turnout – Cluster had turned out to draw far more punters than I expected, and so I thought that this would be packed. It wasn’t, although Jean-Hervé Peron didn’t seem to mind: “You are not numerous but you are attentive.” Maybe that’s the way to try and spin West Midlands audiences henceforth – quality over quantity.
Faust displayed many sides to themselves on this balmy May evening. There was of course sillyness, and plenty of it – dedicating songs to seagulls, throwing dried grass out over the audience (I’m glad I’d taken my hayfever tablet that day), waving a steam-iron about the place etc etc. This all came across as (slightly but not entirely laughing-at rather than laughing-with) fun, rather than the Hoover elsewhere mentioned. At the other end of the spectrum they showed their really quite vicious proto-industrial side. The last song of main set (I think) was particularly in that vein, building to a noise crescendo whilst applying a chainsaw and an angle grinder to various metal objects standing and hanging around the stage.
Krautrock is a pretty vague genre-name that encompassing a good few different things, but in the broadest and loosest possible sense it might not be unfair to say that I often find the rhythmic bits of bands described as Krautrock more likeable than the psychoWilhelm freakout bits. So it went here. One even song early on even sounded like a march, and that was one of the ones I enjoyed the most in the whole set. This does lead me to contemplate whether or not I might actually be doing some unpleasant subconscious psycho-ethnography. What is it that I actually want from The Choimans, I wonder? Only your worst, my friends, only your worst.