Faust/Slapp Happy

Cafe OTO, London - 12 February 2017

"A fantastic afternoon - a truly special event"

It's not often that members of the audience get to see and hear, the artists they've come to see sound checking and much less so when it's through the window of the venue as they queue outside. But that was all part of the intimate nature of this venue and this afternoons gig at Cafe OTO, a music/arts venue and cafe, just off of Kingsland High Street in Dalston, London.

As I heard the band run through a fantastic version of Casablanca Moon, as part of the soundcheck, with Dagmar Krause's distinctive vocals to the fore, I got the feeling this event really could be something quite special and so it turned out to be.

The venue opened at 2pm for this sold out show, an additional performance, as part of a sold out residency at the venue. And not surprisingly so, as this was the first time that Slapp Happy have appeared with Faust in the UK. With the two band's history of working together dating back to the recording of Slapp Happy's first two albums Sort Of and Acnalbasac Noom in 1972 and 73.

The five piece line up of Slapp Happy - Peter Blegvad (guitar), Anthony Moore (Keyboards and Guitar) and vocalist Dagmar Krause and Faust - "Zappi" Diermaier (drums) and Jean-Hervé Péron (bass) had a fantastic chemistry, humourous, warm and relaxed as they interacted between themselves and with the audience. The set list and order for large parts being made up on the fly, mainly at Blegveld's suggestion. They played two sets with a short break in between, only finishing at four thirty, in order to let the evening gig's headliners soundcheck.

[Slapp Happy]      [Faust]

Photos [L-R] Slapp Happy, Faust

Superb throughout, the intimacy and special nature of the performance was typified, when Dagmar asked if someone could bring her a cup of tea from the dressing room during the first set, which she gratefully sipped in between and during a few of the songs. This was an afternoon to simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere and their beautifully crafted songs.

At the the start of the second set, Peter Blegvad announced that Zappi would have to leave soon, as he had to catch his flight back to Germany. When he finally had to pack up his drumsticks and leave, the rest of the band continued effortlessly. Though Blegvad soon noted, we're missing you already Zappi, to nods and agreement by the rest of the band and audience. While later conceeding this is actually working, as they continued drummerless and even dreamier, with songs such as the sublime Small Hands of Stone and enternally pertinent King of Straw.

This was simply a fantastic afternoon performance, that was lovingly and appreciatively enjoyed by the rapt audience, a truly special event. 10/10

Set list included: Charlie 'n Charlie, Just A Conversation, Blue Flower, King of Straw, Casablanca Moon, I Got Evil, Mr Rainbow, Let's Travel Light, Small Hands of Stone and many more

Review+Photos: Cliff Chapman