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Saturday 27 May 2023

Saturday Live

Can live on Rockpalast in 1970, the full on krautrock experience, in a tent being recorded by a very staid looking camera crew and production unit. Jaki Liebezeit's rhythms and Holger Czukay's bass provide the foreground/ backdrop for Irwin Schmidt and Michael Karoli's trebly, rattly organ and guitar while Damo Suzuki does his thing. The youthful audience look suitably bemused, shuffling about a bit and nod heads, as can get into Can's unique groove. The four musicians play with a real sense of equality and parity, no one in the lead, all playing with each other and for each other. Over an hour and a half they work their way through Sense All To Mine, Oh Yeah (with Karoli's guitar sounding at least a decade ahead), the thirteen minute freakery of I Feel Alright, Don't Turn The Light On (Leave Me Alone), Mother Sky, Deadlock, a monstrous, majestic version of Paperhouse and Bring Me Coffee Or Tea. 

The context of Can is inextricably part of them- born in the aftermath of World War II, growing up on the frontline of the Cold War and wanting a music and culture that was entirely theirs, not traditionally German, and not Americanised either, against the backdrop of generational tensions in the FRG (general 60s ones about Vietnam, the police, authority and youth but specifically West German ones too with the rising tide of Baader- Meinhof and young West Germans poking at the scab of their parents generation who had adopted a collective amnesia in order to move on from the war and build a new country- 'what did you do in the war?). Holger Czukay (I think) said that in the late 60s their go- to- phrase was 'don't trust anyone over thirty'. Out of all of this comes Can's music. 


Anonymous said...

That phrase came from an interview with Jack Weinberg in 1964 ... Czukay, Liebezeit and Schmidt all turned 30 in the late 60's ;)

- Johnny

Swiss Adam said...

Ha ha. Thanks Johnny, should have done my research properly. Think I recalled it from David Stubbs' book on krautrock but couldn't find my copy when I wrote the post.

Anonymous said...

Staggering mix