Faust Live : The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Zali Krishna

Radio KRMB, 9 Oct 1999

Well, actually the boys were really rather fabbi!

For those of you unfamiliar with London's South Bank centre: it's an imposing sprawl of fifties(?) concrete running along the Waterloo bank of the Thames and one of the most important cultural venues in the capital. The South Bank houses the galleries, theatres, a poetry library, some truly great concrete slopes for skateboarders and of course a couple of concert halls. A little more imposing than Highbury Corner's Garage, where FAUST normally play. This is not to say that it is a new venue for the band since they played there with Tony Conrad a few years back.

Faust were playing as part of a mini-meltdown festival on a night of german musik. Console were first up, saw little of their performance since we awaited the company of the venerable Alaric Pether, but they seemed kinda kitschy Kraftwerk-lite. Next up were the Kleidler, a band not unknown to the denizens of these pages, who played an efficient set which seemed a tad lacking in fire for my liking. very clever it all is but it didn't seem to push them much further than their vinyl excursions. Alright, but didn't really raise gooseflesh. After another pint we faced To Rococo Rot whose digital krautdub was preferable to Kreidler's outing. Much more engaging - more of a feeling that something was going on between the musicians. a good set - very pleasing!

Ambling back into the big auditorium after another pint (only fucking Carling - nothing worth drinking at the QEH at all!) we were faced with a big obscuring gauze set across the entire front of the stage. UV lights picked out monitors and something could be seen moving in there. If yoo happen to have heard the opening to Ravvivando you'd recognise the fucked-up organ that almost got me into a fight later by describing it as sounding a tad like Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds". Pounding zappi drums join it and we are still left detatched from the band by a barrier. A phased carousel organ plays old harry with the speakers and then THAT groove comes in. The gauze moves aside and sure enough - it ain't Hanson behind it! It would be pointless to describe the music blow by blow, track by track. As anyone who has seen Faust would tell - it didn't happen like that. From the roaringly slight irmlerorgan breaking up the bass as Lobdell's fuzzwah rips shit out of the treble and the percussion goes thwackety thwack! But then it's all quiet and there's a flute and a clarinet and a warm but meditative ambience...and then all hell breaks loose again and fucking roman candles are blazing across the from of the stage and Zappi's playing with stage and wah-hey! Here come the power tools! grrr! grrr! it's just the best thing live. Go and bloody see them!

Oh, and we went out for a Lebanese meal with them afterwards, but that is another story!

Zali Krishna, "Faust Live", Radio KRMB 1999

ref: Radio KRMB

ref: Zali Krishna