Live at The Rainbow

Karl Dallas

Melody Maker, Jun 1973

London's Rainbow looked like a Berliner Ensemble production of a rock musical version of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5." The stage backdrop had been raised, revealing the grey back wall of the theatre, which had disticnt prison-camp overtones in the subdued light.

Faust's equipment was grouped mid-stage, an island of anonymous electronic gear huddling together, as if for comfort, in the centre of a vast emptiness.

At the four corners of the stage, pointing at the members of the eband, were four TV sets, one of them in colour, with the sound turned down.

The houselights went down and the band came on, but there was no compensating brightening on stage as the great washes of electronic sound began to swell out of the speakers. With the exception of the drummer, it was impossible to distinguish anybosy - which is how the band wants it.

It was also hard to distinguish when one ended and another began, which even the band must have realised, to judge by the murmured 'danke schon' which came over the speakers, telling us it was time to applaud.

This is a band of not one style but many, for since it ranges over the entire spectrum of modern music, taking what it needs from any and all, the resulting mix can very from gentle, acoustic sounds to the hard-driving near-mesmeric rock of It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Baby.

At one stage they turned up the sound of the TV sets to introduce a random, John Cage-type element elements to the proceedings, with opera star Beverly Stills' voice playing an unwitting part, since BBC-2 was transmitting a programme of her singing at that time.

At another time they began talking to each other over the p.a. - something that a couple of members of the audience joined in with some enthusiasm.

I have a feeling, as the band plays in public more and more often, that their music will become more accessible and it's members will become less and less anonymous.

And the next time they play the Rainbow, it's going to be a whole lot harder to get in.

Karl Dallas, "Live at The Rainbow", Melody Maker 1973