30 June 2013

Van der Graaf Generator at the Barbican

I guess that it says something about Van der Graaf Generator that they now play plush seated venues like the Barbican and it says more about their fans that we will happily go there to see them. This is a far cry from the make-shift stage I first saw them perform on at Southampton University in 1975 (October 15).

Van der Graaf Generator do not tour much these days and it was two years since I last saw them play. That was also at the Barbican and I also had a front-row seat in the circle then but this time it was because I was in quick enough to get the seat I wanted rather than having to rely on returns.

The set-list was fairly different but the sound and the experience were the same.

Now a three-piece, VDGG created an enthralling wall of sound which the sound system and acoustics of the Barbican Hall did full justice to.

As before, the set-list was mostly new to me and as before that did not matter one jot, it all sounded like VDGG should sound; glorious, complex and rhythmic.

There were two songs that were instantly recognisable, Man-Erg, which seems to be their most played live song, and the pre-announced classic A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers that was one side of 1971's Pawn Hearts.

VDGG are still evolving and still doing miraculous things live. I just wish that they did them more often.

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