Former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki still diving into impromptu moments | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki still diving into impromptu moments

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Update: This show has been canceled to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.


Damo Suzuki has always had a case of wanderlust. Born in 1950 in Kobe, Japan, he began traveling while still in his teens and spent time living in Gräsmark, Sweden, before eventually landing in Cologne, Germany, where he landed a gig as the lead singer of Krautrock progenitors Can in the early 70s. His contributions included recording 1971’s Tago Mago, arguably the band’s high point: the album judders with taut rhythms and seethes with waves of gnarly guitar, and Suzuki intones words and sounds that seem pulled up from a poetic subconscious. His penchant for travel never abated, and after leaving Can in 1973, he kicked around and sporadically recorded with a few other ensembles. But by the 1990s, Suzuki had embarked on an ongoing, basically endless tour, an open-ended road show in which he travels from city to city fronting bands of local players. He calls these many bands Damo Suzuki’s Network, and at his current Chicago stop (he had to cancel in May 2019 due to visa issues), the Network is set to include multi-instrumentalist Cooper Crain, bassist Joshua Abrams, and drummer Quin Kirchner. Regardless of his accompanists, though, twinges of the delivery he showcased on his recordings with Can sporadically pop up: a live 2018 album with Black Midi caught him mimicking his cadence and melody from the Tago Mago cut “Mushroom.” But whether Suzuki is recalibrating the past or diving into an impromptu moment of vocal eloquence, each of his performances enhances his legacy.   v

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