DAMO suzuki with CUL DE SAC at the Tequila Lounge, May 16. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 150. Rating: NNN
It's been more than 30 years since the members of Can "discovered" Damo Suzuki shrieking incomprehensibly on a Munich street corner and hired him on the spot as their new vocalist. After Thursday's incredibly rare appearance at the Tequila Lounge, it's tempting to say nothing's changed.On Can classics like Future Days and Ege Bamyasi, Suzuki's concept of "instant composition" found him clucking, warbling and squawking while the band rolled out their lurching funk. The vocalist's current North American tour finds him supported by Boston psych fanatics Cul de Sac. While the idea of someone making up songs on the spot, backed by a band he's never played with before this tour admittedly doesn't hold much promise, the entire exercise worked out better than anyone could have imagined.
After a short set of Cul de Sac's own moody instrumental music, the group quickly launched into a chugging, Can-like groove, Suzuki strolled out and immediately began murmuring into the microphone, growing increasingly agitated with each passing second.
Percussionist John Proudman did his best Jaki Liebezeit impression, snapping the groove forward with twitchy, cryptically propulsive drum lines while Suzuki wavered between a low grumble and various shrieks, stretching songs out over 10 minutes and signalling the end of each tune by putting his arms up in a Christ-like pose.
The members of Cul de Sac looked alternately amused and fascinated by Suzuki's manic vocalizing, and despite a tentative start, did well to adapt to the singer's constantly changing styles. Fans who had trudged through the rain hoping to hear quaint versions of Vitamin C and Mother Sky were disappointed, but anyone with an open mind had to be impressed.