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The Vanity Set/Groop/Caesar Romero (live at the Kosmische Club)

@ Kosmische Upstairs At The Garage, London 16 September 2003

Caesar Romero (Click for larger image)A reasonably well-filled Upstairs At The Garage is in store for a sleazy night of lateral Rock and Roll tonight. Caesar Romero pull off several good sweaty tricks – they use keyboards and guitars like they were meant to be scuzzed up and with a hint of wah; their guitarist manages to wear a stetson onstage without looking like a twat, and their music is a gritty swirl of fat, fuzzy bass, crisp drums and some occasional stroke of violin. Their female fans/friends also like to gyrate in front of the stage. Despite a couple of false attempts on their final number, it stomps their earthy set out with a hint of treble-cut analogue synth Funk and confirms the bands’ entertainment value as high.

Groop (Click for 

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Acid Mothers Collective: – Guru + Zero – Tsurubami – Pardons – Kawabata Makoto/Salvatore (live at the Kosmische Club)

The Spitz, London 5 June 2003

When the Acid Mothers Collective come to town, a few things are certain – extended improvisations, guest appearances (tonight’s honourable psychonaut is none other than Daevid Allen), antics and japes at the keyboards, and hair. Lots and lots of hair: not just on the heads of Makoto Kawabata and Higashi Hiroshi, what with the Camembert Electrique crowd out in force, some spectacular mullets are in evidence in the capacity crowd too.

Salvatore (Click for larger image)Hirsute fans aside, the evening opens with the shorn Norwegian Kosmische favourites Salvatore, whose progression beyond Post-Rock finds them riding on solid grooves accompanied by rippling melodies. Their instrumental glide is usually right at home, but tonight their performance lacks a continuous sparkle, breezing through on a pleasant churn of electronics and assorted guitar, basses and drums without really ever lifting off.

Kawabata 

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Damo Suzuki Network/Circle (live at the Kosmische Club)

Circle The Garage, London 8 June 2002

Circle

Circle look worryingly like they’re going to play pub-Rock covers of Judas Priest – but fortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Finland’s finest space rockers (with the emphasis on the rock) have all the churning drive of Hawkwind at their psychedelic wind-tunnel best, with all the extraneous Blues influences stripped down to the bare rage of fuzz and phaser set to splurge. Other obviously unnecessary reference points might as well include the chug-a-lug intensity of the Butthole Surfers back when they didn’t bother appealing to anyone listening except their own baser selves, and Keiji Haino levitating the Albert Hall from a distance. In other words, they are on a mission to the heart of the musical storm, lashed to their raging Juno 60 synth, squirming guitar

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Kling Klang/Tennis/Ticklish (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kling KlangThe Kosmische Club

Upstairs At The Garage, London 28 July 2001

For the Kosmische Club’s fifth birthday, the party hats, balloons and banners have been brought out to celebrate half a decade of putting on one of the best clubs in London, if not the country and possibly the world. A touch of hyperbole, perhaps, but the nice thing about this club, despite the almost unbearable heat in the small roof-space room which has plagued Upstairs At The Garage in summer since the year dot, is how intimate it is. Not just in the sense of being small, but there’s usually a general air of seriously friendly fun and frivolity to be found, and it’s especially the case tonight. The party mood may not be that different from the average Kosmische, but the selection of DJ’ed tunes and live guests makes for

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Khan (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische Upstairs @ The Garage, London 23 June 2001

I‘d never heard of Khan (aka Can Oral) before hearing about this gig a few weeks back, but his odd background (Finnish mother, Turkish father, grew up in Germany) and his array of current collaborators (Kid Congo Powers, Diamanda Galas, Julee Cruise, Hanin Elias and Jon Spencer, among others) certainly grabbed my attention. Hitching back from Avebury on the 23rd, after three blissful days of rural loafing, I was in two minds about whether I wanted to dive straight into a small sweaty club, but dive I did.

I quickly remembered that, in most cases, I love plunging straight into city chaos immediately on returning from travels. There’s a balance just between Culture Shock and Surrealism that hits the spot. No one I knew could make the night, so I made it to The Garage, parked myself on my rucksack, reeled

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Acid Mothers Temple/Southall Riot (live at the Kosmische Club)

Acid Mothers TempleKosmische @ The Garage, London 31 May 2001

Acid Mothers TempleBeware all snow leopards; indeed all mammals were at risk of having their asses rocked Thursday at the Kosmische Club‘s presentation of Acid Mothers Temple. Once Southall Riot was done with their opening imitation of all that was Krautrock in a Nineties sort of style, all three chord-led and droney – and most of which I missed – Acid Mothers Temple strolled on, lit up and rawked out. An enthusiastic audience had to have been relieved by the breathing space afforded by the last minute manoeuvre to downstairs at The Garage, knowing that Upstairs would never have accommodated the sweating, grooving, smoking crowd, much less the band’s hair. You would never want to invite this group over for showers, unless your idea of fun is gathering hairballs from the drain,

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Oh (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische @ Upstairs at The Garage, London 25 March 2000

When consumer electronics expanded sufficiently to include musical instruments at relatively affordable prices for the average band to use in the Eighties, the result was synth pop, unfortunately with some quite dire results. Then came the Techno revolution, and sampler-based bedroom cookups, and eventually everyone who once would have formed a garage band was in on the electronica act. Now that the original Mini-Moogs and Stylophones, DX7s and SH-1s have become collectors’ items after years on the second-hand shelves at bargain basement prices, their place in the battery of instrumentation available to those who started out as indie rock bands (in the loosest possible sense, covering a variety of pleasures and sins) soon eclipsed the treasured varnished sheen of a vintage Fender Jaguar or a Rickenbacker semi-acoustic guitar as objects of desire. The sounds if not the hairstyles of Eighties

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Damo Suzuki Network (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische @ The Garage, London 12 September 1998

A legend or two popped into The Garage, held an audience captive for a couple of hours, and it was just as might be expected – half a trip back in time, and half a slice of something timeless. Damo Suzuki nearly three decades on still has the stage presence of the Can days (at least that evident in Peter Pryzgoda‘s Freeconcert film for those who are too young to actually have been there), while Michael Karoli looks better if anything, all razored cheeks and shades – a great imorovement on the regulation Seventies rock-mop he used to sport. But forget the haircuts, remember that this was not a Can reunion (wait for November for that unmissable occasion), but Damo and friends touching down from the wilderness.

With half of Guru Guru as the backing band, it’s not surprising that the set

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Fridge/M.A.S.S. (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische/The Sausage Machine The Vibe Bar, London 11 June 1998

I was foned on Wednesday night by Iain, a friend who I hadn’t heard from for a little while. He asked if I liked Fridge. I asked whether he meant my fridge or whether I was merely well disposed towards refrigerators in general. He told me that they were playing Thursday night in Brick Lane and thought I might like them.

This was how, after an eleven hour day at work, I ended up in the up and coming East End of London in the hip lounge of the Vibe Bar. The wooden floored chamber with a bar area and large sofas (all occupied by the beautiful people) was lit by many long-necked spot-lights hanging from the ceiling. A video-mixing set-up (Curious Yellow) projected a clash of video and computerized imagery onto a screen behind a low stage. The video-projector

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