captain beefheart electricity



saturday 01.11.80 AMSTERDAM holland PARADISO

REVIEW - MEMORY - go to the main page


jim van alphen - het parool - 3 november 1980


a man like captain beefheart either is admired passionately or loathed cordially. captain beefheart, or better: don van vliet, as this american approaching his forties is named officially, is known as a very distinguished musician. his music has influences from the blues, rock and jazz, but you can hardly put a decal on him. béefheart is the style.

his music is called border shifting and eccentric, which isn't a surprise because the man holds aloft the banner of the avant gardism. of course, in the rock-circus where you usually stumble over the smooth imitators such a mentality has to be much cheered of itself, but there are two matters which should to be separated.

beefheart's fame as a cult-figure (for that's what he still is, undeniable) doesn't mean that his music is digestible. i'm sure that many people admire beefheart merely because he is different and follows his own route. he's fascinating thanks to the deviating pattern.

as a phenomenon, beefheart in a certain sense also is on a level a critic but hardly has a grip on. nice for him of course, but this is a review which ought to include an opinion. well, the captain just may be obsessed by the experimental, yet i didn't experience a lot of fun with his growling expression temper last saturday when he performed in holland again after an absence of almost exactly five years (then he played the concertgebouw).

paradiso, where the beefheart ceremony took place this time, had been sold out for days ahead, for that matter - which is a sign of the fame he has. at last, he has a long career behind him in which he not only regularly worked together with zappa but also ran through widely different creative stages.


in my opinion his most compelling period is the one in which he managed to translate the blues influences into quite accessible records like 'bluejeans and moonbeams' from 1974 (excuse me, i'm out for a vomit break - t.t.). after that, his career seemed to bleed to death, but since he has been marked as a pioneer by a new generation of bands beefheart gathered up the threads two years ago after a not much productive time.

with his recently released eleventh elpee and this european tour, this bizarre exponent of the old-time underground gets a bit more attention again, but i keep my doubts. is beefheart a talented charlatan with profound clichés or is he really an obsessed artist?

his performance again in fact was a ritual full of incantations - freakish, but hardly enjoyable. his magic band [follows line up] usually got stuck in crumbly rags of sound, to which like a magician he added some by creaking vocals. an anti rock magician rather, who in his more than twenty pieces just seldom caused the hypnotising effect, although 'dirty blue gene', 'sugar and spikes' and 'her eyes are a blue million miles' were the most interesting tries.

beefheart may well be an unique creature in the rock music - it just doesn't seem to be sufficient.

a gorillacrow trancelation 140899

additional MEMORY

richard 'midnight hatsize' snyder - from interview my life as a midnight hat:

i remember that this show was being taped for a radio broadcast, so i imagine that the recordings for this show were of a better quality than the attendant performance! seriously, i had a wonderful time at this show - and i recall being concerned about the precarious architecture of the place (e.g., the stage felt unusually flexible, and it seemed as though some of the railings that circumvented the seating area were in grave danger of being broken away at any time).

holland was beautiful at that time, and i remember that we were all quite enamored with the area, especially the nearby van gogh museum that the entire band took a 'field trip' (for a lack of a better term) to. in the same vicinity, there was a wonderful restaurant that eric and i visited that kept an aquarium of live fish in the wall from which you were able to select and be served what was probably the very best, freshest fish that i have ever tasted - before or since. does anybody have the name of that place? i've gotta get back there one day....

click clack to the next review and picture

click clack back to the concerts or return to the power station

captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo