IT WAS a warm, moist evening — ideal for sitting on damp grass and peering at laser beams through your wineglass. A perfect bring-along-the-doggie-and-the-kids hippie event.
And on stage, what else but some long haired German musicians dressed in white and playing synthesizers…
(What else? — Ed)
Manuel Göttsching twiddled a few knobs and it sounded like a jet flying over in a perfect stereo pan. Whoops! It was a jet flying over. There was a ripple of laughter from the audience at their mistake.
If there had been crickets chirping it could easily have been a Southern Californian evening, moths flying through the spotlights, children running about, sophisticated electronic equipment heaped casually on stage and quiet, rather beautiful melodies being played by someone with a background of acid rock — more acid than rock.
Manuel is Mister Ash Ra. He does all the really neat stuff with the synthesizer and also gets to play guitar. Lutz Ulbrich stuck mostly to swelling church organ background sounds and Harold Groskopf’s drums were restricted to a little percussion to accentuate the rhythm computer which played the main drum line.
The synthi music was very pleasant really. It began with the Tweetie-bird school of electronics but became funkier (if you can really use that word about synthi-music) with the addition of a fairly strong attack on the electronic rhythm.
‘Jesus’ was there, dancing in front of the left hand stage PA and Laser Graphics, who we’ve all seen many times before, sliced clouds of smoke to create flat planes of light like the skies in early Japanese and Chinese paintings.
It was more of a pleasant event than a great concert. The range of music was quite limited and the long guitar riffs, though quite melodic, didn’t really sustain — certainly not as well as they do on the record.
But it was fun. And they didn’t close the bar during the concert either.
© Miles, New Musical Express, 3 September 1977