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Damo Suzuki With Pond

Punters packed out The Bakery last Thursday night to catch ex-CAN vocalist Damo Suzuki performing an entirely improvised live set, backed by Pond along with members of Tame Impala and Usurper Of Modern Medicine. This inspired combination made for an exhilarating and exciting display of psychedelic grooves and prog-inspired experimentation.

But before the jams could be properly kicked out, Sonpsilo Circus got the crowd warmed up. “We’re honoured to be here, we’ll try our best,” began lead singer and guitarist Peter Leveson-Gower. Their best was definitely good enough. With the stage banter kept to a minimum, they proceeded to blast out a great mixture of songs both old and new, augmented by new guitarist Steve Macchiaverna.

Around an hour later Damo Suzuki with Pond et al (seven members, if you don’t mind) made their way to the stage while Kevin Parker laid down a solid rhythm on the drums alongside a repetitive, thumping bassline. This provided the foundation needed for Suzuki to wail his improvised, indecipherable lyrics while Jay Watson added stabbing guitar parts to fill out the main sound. Throughout the set band members swapped between guitar, drums, congas, Moog synthesizers and even a Theremin(!), evoking the power and spirit of classic CAN tunes like Halleluwah or Mother Sky. There was a heavy focus on driving energy and groove that kept everyone on their feet rather than just sitting down and spacing out.

Powering through a set of everything from rock to funk, electronica and beyond, Suzuki and the band kept the energy high and instrumentation as tight as any laptop DJ could make with samples. It all came to a crashing conclusion around midnight after an hour and a half of non-stop rocking. The 62-year-old Suzuki displayed remarkable strength and stamina throughout the entire set, managing to hold his own alongside the youthful, twenty-something rockers. The show finished with everyone, including the audience, exhausted from the continuous bombardment of sounds yet still keen for more. Guess we’ll just have to wait until next time to see what Suzuki and the next band he chooses have in store for us.

Written by Scott Aitken

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