LIVE: Faust @ Proctors, 9/30/09

Werner “Zappi” Diermaier, electric sander virtuoso
Werner “Zappi” Diermaier, electric sander virtuoso

Ho hum.

Another legendary 1970s German experimental rock band armed with a cement mixer and power sanders. Why don’t we ever get a chance to see something different in this town?

Well if you’re one of those Nippertown naysayers who still refers to it as “Smallbany,” well, you obviously weren’t at Proctors’ GE Theatre on Wednesday evening to witness the art/noise assault of Faust.

Here’s my review for the Times Union.

Here are a few additional notes:

Jean-Herve Peron performing on cement mixer
Jean-Herve Peron performing on cement mixer

Yes, the cement mixer was miked. And interestingly enough, the microphone kept slipping out of the mike stand and dangling inside the mixer. I’ve got to admit – I couldn’t tell the difference.

The universe began folding back into itself early on in the show when Geraldine Swayne offered a fairly lenghty spoken word recitation from what I believe was Goethe’s “Faust” (in English) while a black & white silent movie version of “Faust” (was that F.W. Murnau’s 1926 version? With French subtitles?)

As Faust frontman and co-founder Jean-Herve Peron pointed out at the start of the show, not only was he an exchange student at Mont Pleasant High School back in 1967, but he was also a classmate of the future filmmaker John Sayles.

One of my favorite moments occured when Peron strolled through the crowd playing off-kilter fanfares on a kind of elongated trumpet while Swayne stood at center stage quietly tearing the evening’s concert program into tiny shreds.

Despite the gales of chaotic noise, there were some truly tender musical moments as well. The acoustic “Psalter,” for example, sounded much more like the Incredible String Band than like the Velvet Underground.

There was a large white canvas and several cans of spray paint at the ready at stage left, but Swayne never did get around to doing any action painting to accompany the live music. There were, however, several other paintings scattered around the stage

Jason Cosco also did a fine job of providing live video accompaniment for both opening acts – Holland Hopson and Century Plants. Intriguing visuals, but not overpowering, which is difficult to do on a screen of such a mammoth size.

“Thank you for your magnitude,” Peron told the crowd with genuine appreciation and at least some degree of surprise. “Thank you for your forgiveness, your open-mindedness.”

Excuse me, now. I’ve got to go and find me some more of Holland Hopson’s 21st century banjo music.

Geraldine Swayne and James Johnston
Geraldine Swayne and James Johnston

FAUST (intended) SET LIST
So Far
Faust meets Faust
Listen to Fish
Miss Fortune
Rat Repellent/Fanfare
Fresh Air
Psalter (friendly)
Teuton Tango
Schempal Buddha

(This was the set list that they had written out before-hand and had intended to play, but it’s not exactly what they did actually perform. For example, I know that they performed “Fresh Air” prior to “Miss Fortune,” not afterward. If anybody can help whip this into the actual setlist, it would be greatly appreciated.)

Photos by Andrzej Pilarczyk; you can see more of his photos from this evening Flickr.

Century Plants
Century Plants

Holland Hopson
Holland Hopson

  1. Holland Hopson says

    “Excuse me, now. I’ve got to go and find me some more of Holland Hopson’s 21st century banjo music.”

    Try I hope to release a “proper” recording in the next few months with a preview track or two online at soon.

  2. Jo says

    what a great show, and yes, that was Murnau’s Faust up there. I need to own that movie.

  3. [email protected] says

    Jo, that’s exactly what I was thinking. What a beautiful-looking film. I don’t think I was aware that there was a French version – that’s what kinda threw me off. Thanks for the confirmation.

  4. Jay Anderson says

    This truly was an awesome show!
    This year has reaffirmed that Albany does have a great music scene, even though its very difficult to find. Truly a memorable performance!

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